Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spotlight Michele Scaife

Hibiscus House
 is pleased to present our 
Spotlight Story of the Week


Michele Scaife

     Welcome to Simply Scaife Family Farm. Having grown up roaming the wide open prairie farm my grandparents’ owned, farm life is deep in my veins and close to my heart. The richness of soil, bounty of harvests and the hard work of herds and flock are treasured memories and valued parts of my modern life. My husband Donny and I, along with the help of our three teenagers (Nicole - 19, Jenny - 17, and Justin - 15), have spent the past twelve years making this house a home and this farm a productive, God honoring place of sustenance and self-sufficiency.





     On our small farm supports a herd of dairy goats and meat goats protected and loved my Doc our “herd donkey”.  My sweet Lab, Hadassah, keeps watchful eye over our bountiful flock of poultry as well as a few barn cats. I have to say, my deep conviction in farm life: you can never have too many tomatoes in your garden or too many chicks in your flock. Rows and rows of countless tomatoes take up a good portion of my garden, alongside the corn field, cucumbers, peppers, squash, green beans, and a handful of other plants. I think this past year I started, babied, and planted over a hundred tomato plants….as well as a good fifty new laying hens.



     When I’m not cleaning coops or pulling weeds I can be found at the quilt frame. Whether piecing a new pattern, finishing a vintage treasure, or binding off a quilt for the shop, my frame is always full and my sewing table overflowing with wonderful colors and textures.  The joy of finding homes for these pieces of love and history fills my soul with deep satisfaction and absolute joy.



      Since my children are growing up and moving on with college and work schedules of their own, my heart has been filled with a desire to teach others how to quilt, can, preserve, bake bread, make pickles, culture yogurt and cheese-all those homesteading necessities they are eager to learn. It’s such a blessing to watch these young women get excited over their first batch of jelly, homemade and self-canned, or to see their smiling face when they produce a straight line of quilted stitches.



    The Lord has been so very good to us- blessings beyond measure. It is our desire to pass on the gifts of knowledge and grace on our farm, in our blog, and by our shop. Thank you for stopping by.


Visit Simply Scaife Family Farm

Simply Scaife Family Farm

and

Simply Scaife Handmade ETSY Shop


Michele thank you for sharing your wonderful story.






Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spotlight CJ Armstrong

Hibiscus House is proud to present our
Spotlight of the Week
C.J. Armstrong


                                         photo credit C.J. Armstrong 
                                                                                 

Now In Her Own Words: 
                                                                          
My oldest brother, who is 13 years older than me, tells me how he remembers the day when the minister of the church brought my mom home from the hospital in his big black car, with baby sister in her arms...me, of course.  I was brought home to our family farm in southwest Colorado, where I spent my entire childhood, growing up as a true-blue farm kid.  I have two older brothers, two older sisters and one younger sister.  We raised cattle, sheep, and more laying hens than we could count.  We had a horse named Ginger, a Chestnut Bay Mare, that we rode bareback to school.  Of course there were always cats (my younger sister and I dressed them in doll clothes to play with them and, when they tired of it, they'd run off and hide under the grainery, still wearing the doll clothes) and dogs of every description.

photo credit C.J. Armstrong
The hay field is part of our family farm, I live just up the road from there a few hundred yards.
Even though our family no longer owns it, it is still "my Mountains";


My dad raised potatoes until the market deteriorated too badly it wasn't profitable.  He also raised all of the feed for our animals which included alfalfa, oats, and field corn (for silage for winter feed).  He was an expert orchard man and raised sought after apples, peaches, and cherries, and the best homemade apple cider ever (nope, not "hard").  There was other fruit such as apricots, pears, and plums but not in as large a bounty as the others.

My mother was the ultimate example of a farm wife, raising six children, teaching them everything they needed to know about gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, canning, everything possible....and practicing the piano.
She raised a HUGE garden every year and had the art of canning, freezing and preserving down to a science.  We as her children, were expected to work, do our chores and not complain about it, but be grateful we had a home, a loving family, and food to eat.  My mom was also instrumental in teaching her children about the Bible, loving the Lord and nurtured in us the desire to pursue a Christian life and walk and to serve the Lord.

photo credit C.J. Armstrong
My hubby and I just this past December, after our 43rd anniversary.

My husband, Bill who was born and raised in the mining communities of Arizona, and I have our house built on three acres of part of the farm that my dad deeded to us.  My parents have both gone to their heavenly home and the farm is no longer in our family, but I can look out my living room window and see the farmhouse that was my childhood home.  I can traipse around in the woods the same as when I was a kid. I can look at and still enjoy the very same mountain views on three sides.  I can look at the alfalfa fields, the fruit orchards and smile with incredible joy that I am here and I live right where I grew up and where I learned all about life, family, hard work and God's creation.

My "honey" and I will celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary this coming December.  We have a grown daughter, Robin, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, has a family and is a teacher...something she is passionate about and does with grace, beauty and tremendous talent.  She is also MY best friend, companion and ....well, "partner in crime".  We enjoy traveling together, working on projects together, going "tent glamping" together and working on breast cancer events together...but then I could go on and on about my relationship with her.  It is a priceless treasure and one that I thank the Lord for. 

We have a grown son, Jeremy, who was born with Down's Syndrome and lives with a 24/7 caregiver in a town just five miles from here.  He needed his own life and we made the decision to let him move into a residential program that also provides some day program activities.  We see him, at least every Sunday, and frequently other times.  He has been a true joy in our family.
   
photo credit C.J. Armstrong
 My children, Jeremy and Robin
I am currently semi-retired but have been a medical transcriptionist, college course instructor, piano/vocal/organ instructor, middle school registrar, medical supply customer service representative and caregiver for an individual with a traumatic brain injury...and that's just to name a few!  I enjoy photography, gardening, "glamping", camping and go on "power" walks every day.  Music is my heart, soul and passion and I play a "mean" piano!  I also sing, have played organ and directed numerous choirs and taught classes, private students.  The ONLY thing I've been doing longer than playing the piano is breathing...I started to learn the piano before I started school.

photo credit C.J. Armstrong
 My daughter, Robin and me, with my sweet dog, Bramble, an Australian cattle dog.  Robin is also on Farmgirl Connection and Sisterhood as "birdie71".

MaryJanes Farm

I have been a "sister" with MaryJanes Farm for three years and have enjoyed that more than I can describe.  I was honored to be chosen as FarmGirl of the Month for November 2009 and then totally honored, humbled and surprised when I was chosen as MaryJanes Farm Sister of the Year for 2010....what an awesome honor!!!

photo credit C.J. Armstrong 

My current goals are to slow down, enjoy life more, enjoy my family to the utmost, take more road trips and travel more, see and do things I've not been able to yet....cross things off my "bucket list".  But most of all I want to LOVE and SERVE the LORD and see Him manifest in my life!

. . . barefoot farmgirl from Southwest Colorado


Thank you so much for this wonderful story C.J.






Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Worm in Every Ear

This past weekend was both busy and wonderful. My daughter Carly and her two sons spent it with me.  We had such a good time.  I had a bushel of Seneca Chief Corn and of Dixie Lee Peas to shuck and shell.  I was glad to have their help. Phillip had never shucked corn nor shelled peas before so it was quite an experience. 

He was The Statue of Liberty

Join us on this day

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spotlight Heather Hansen

Hibiscus House is proud to present the Spotlight of the Week
Heather is such a sweet person full of life and excitement.  Her enthusiasm is very contagious.
She has shared some of the most beautiful pictures in this post and please don't forget to check out the left sidebar for more.  It is a history lesson for those of us whom have never been to Monterey.  A thoroughly enjoyable story.
Heather tells me her favorite music is Big Band, so we will all step back in time and listen with her. She has a very fun blog called Heather's Blog-O-Rama, be sure to check that out.

Hi everyone,
     My name is Heather.  I live on the Central Coast of California, in Monterey.  Monterey has to be one of the most beautiful and historically rich cities in the whole state if not the entire west coast of the United States, in my humble opinion, of course ;) :)
      When Dolly asked me to write for her blog, I was really happy and a bit nervous, because I've been following her spotlight series, and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting all these different people on-line. It's been really neat.  Everyone is so different and has a unique story to tell. 
     Let me try and tell you a little bit about my story.  I started blogging in May 2010. A friend encouraged me to start blogging as a way to keep the creative juices flowing.  I've been blogging ever since.  I share a little bit about everything from the crafts I make to my journey with eating a real food/gluten free diet.  It's a bit chaotic sometimes, but I"m working on getting it more streamlined.  However, in spite of all that, it's been a complete and utter joy, because blogging has allowed me to share with people I might otherwise never come into contact with.  I've also met some lovely people in the blogging world as well...(i.e...the lovely Dolly of Hibiscus House).
     I am a HUGE, and I mean HUGE fan of Mary Jane's Farm magazine. In fact, it's a funny story about how I happened upon this lovely, lovely farmgirl world.  Almost a year prior to starting my blog, I was in the local Barnes & Noble store in Oregon (where I used to live).  I was bored and just wanted any magazine to fill the time. So I went over to the agriculture section, and there was this lady with blonde hair smiling on the front cover. It was the August/September 2009 issue of Mary Jane's Farm magazine.  I loved that it was about organic living and wanted to give it a try.  As soon as I opened the cover I was in LOVE with magazine. What a total delight. I'd finally found something that really incorporated my entire style and personality and love of healthy living ; :) :)
     I finally had found someone that incorporated all of my decorating styles from country to romantic, too. So I knew that this was a winner.
     I promptly bought her three big books and then joined the Farmgirl Sisterhood. I'm Farmgirl Sisterhood Member #2176.  I've been a farmgirl sisterhood member for almost 2 years now. I'm finally going to work for my first merit badge in blogging. Eeek...I'm so excited.  Oh, yes, of course, I'm not missed  a single issue of the magazine since August/September 2009 :) :) :)
      Okay, so how did I land in California? My father and I had both been out of work since the end of 2010, due to lack of work. We were both laid off from our jobs.  It was getting too difficult to stay in our apartment and my aunt has a house in Monterey. She offered to let us move in with her, and so we did :) :) We packed up our things and moved from Oregon to California.
      My grandmother lived here for many years.  I'd had the chance to visit a few times as a teenager and absolutely fell in love with this beautiful area. Oh, and the ocean is practically in my backyard. LOVE IT.  In hindsight, it turned out to be a really good move.  When we arrived, I was really obese.  My aunt put me in contact with a lady who is a naturopath and I've been working with her to get my health back on track. Since September of 2011 I've lost almost 75 pounds :) :) So looking back, I'm totally grateful for this move. It has literally saved my life.
    Well, enough about that, Monterey and the entire central coast of California, is a really rich treasure trove of history.  It's unbelievable.
      Oh, you all should come visit this area. It's gorgeous. Many of the old 18th century adobes are still standing here, too. Okay, so sit back and enjoy the tour:
This is in Pacific Grove, which is right next door to Monterey.  The entire coastline looks this gorgeous. The plant with the orange blooms is an aloe vera plant. The other one with the purple flowers (hard to see here) is called "Pride of Madeira"
One of the older wharfs in Monterey. I took this photo during the Italian festival last year.
     Monterey was founded on June 3rd, 1770 by Don Gaspar de Portola and Father Junipero Serra.  In fact, you can still find the remnants of many of his missions all up and down the coast here. There's one not to far away in Carmel. Monterey was the capital of old California under Spanish and later Mexican rule.  Many firsts have happened right here in Monterey, including the State of California's first constitution being signed here. The first theatre in California. The first bank...etc.
This is a photo of the Monterey Canning Company building on Cannery Row. Cannery Row was made famous in the novel of the same name my John Steinbeck. This whole area was filled with canning factories. They canned everything from sardines to squid.  This area is a very popular tourist site.  Some of the old cannery ruins can still be seen here, too. This photo was taking last December while it was raining. This is my favorite building in the entire Cannery Row area ;)
A mama otter and her pup swimming in the water here in Monterey. That seagull is swimming nearby, because it's going to try and take the otters food.

 If you look really carefully to the right of the white boat with the red stripes, that's the same mama otter with her pup, just swimming in the water. The otters tend to look like floating logs on the water. That's the best way to try and spot them out in the water.
One of the things you absolutely MUST do while here is take the 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. It does cost money, but it's totally worth it. There are quite a few scenic areas to stop and see. Lots of history here, too. Perhaps the most famous spot is The Lone Cypress tree. There's actually a wood staircase that will let you get closer, but no one is allowed to walk right up to that tree anymore.

     I'm hoping my story will be encouraging, too....because I'm not letting unemployment get me down, but using my time to pursue my passions (while still looking for a job of course)...
...but I think I want a non-traditional job doing something I love.  I'd much rather work 16 hour days doing something I am passionate about, than work a five hour job that makes me cry.
      Times are tough for everyone.  I think what's important is what you do in the situation you find yourself in. There's still much to take joy in.  There's always something new to learn and it's a great opportunity to try something you've never done before.
      Oh, and I promise to let you all know when I earn my first merit badge in blogging from the MaryJane's Farmgirl Sisterhood. There will be many squeals of delight from me, and maybe a photo, too :) :)
      Thanks for letting me share part of my life with  you :) :)  Dolly, thank you so much for featuring me on your blog. I feel really honored to walk in company with some of the really neat people you've featured here :) :)
That's the news from the ocean shores of California today :) :) Love and hugs, Heather :)





   Thank you Heather for a wonderful heartfelt and informational Spotlight Story of the Week.
Dolly


The Skyway to the Monterey Canning Company
The skyway to Monterey Canning

Old Cannery Worker Housing
Old Cannery Worker Housing

Monterey fish company
Monterey Fish Co.

California's First Theatre
California's First theatre
Casa Del Ora~California's First Bank
California's First Bank


Thank you Heather for sharing your story with us!


Until next time,


Friday, June 8, 2012

An Artist Shares His Work in Steps


I am beginning to find out that we have many talented artists in our local area.  Scott Harrell is a very talented man and uses many mediums and paints.  I thought that I would share some of his work before doing his Spotlight Story.  He has so many works of art and it is too hard for me to choose.  This one ladies will find to be a favorite. Scott has wonderful works that appeal to men as well.  
I must stop talking before I do his story ahead of time...
Enjoy this work of

Scott Harrell Art
Johnny Depp
Oil on watercolor paper using dry brush technique
Happy Birthday











I took the liberty of lightening the bottom sketch of his but in no way wanted to take away from his talent so the picture below is my lightened version





Another work in progress with this technique.
A technique which is only used in Russia
and to his knowledge no one in the US is doing it.
It gives the appearance of a pencil portrait without the pencil lines.


Stevie Ray Vaughan

Oil on watercolor paper using dry brush technique




orig


I took liberties with this sketch and lightened it forgive the awful tint I did it not artist
below:


I am placing some of his excellent artwork in the sidebar for you to enjoy.
The jerseys are hand painted acrylic straight on the jersey.
The canvas work is airbrushed acrylic.

Be sure to check out Scott's Website
Harrell Art Studio




Click this link below to meet the man behind the art


Scott Harrell
our 
Spotlight of the Week 7/13/12


Until next time
Have a great weekend,


   















Sharing with these fine blog parties:





Ivy and Elephants

Monday, June 4, 2012

The First Day for the Rest of Your Life
















We are all so lucky and blessed aren't we?  I didn't have any idea this morning what I would write about. I made a cup of coffee grabbed my camera and walked to the back door.  Oh my The Lord gave me something! Isn't this sunrise just absolutely beautiful?  I thought as I stood there for those few moments of how wondrous this world is that he has made for us.  Just look at that bird on the line it is one of our bluebirds. He flew to the line and with me we watched the sunrise.  He turns his head side to side and watches in amazement.  The rain is coming down softly, it is so quiet and peaceful.  
Today is the first day for the rest of our lives and I hope we will all not take it for granted.  To greet each other with love and kindness.  To be there for someone in need.   To comfort, those in sadness and to share our joy....maybe even spread a little of it around.
Thank you God for this and everyday. 


Until next year,



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