The Habitat is a state certified wildlife habitat providing food, water, shelter and places for species to raise their young. Native Florida plants is what the owner, Ken Settlemyer, wants to bring back to all the housing area in Manatee County. Ken took the first steps to giving back to nature by surrendering half his back yard as a sanctuary for native Florida plants and wildlife. Keeping a few non-native plants in for extra nectar for butterflies, bees and insects that crave those flowers. Walking through The Habitat garden at different times of day gives you a chance to see a variety of butterflies and birds.
Ken is very active in his community helping with this habitat project, he holds a high rank in the Boys Scouts of America Foundation, is a Parrot Head, Ham Radio operator, original music supporter, father, husband to his wonderful wife Heather and many more hats that keep him very busy. Heather and Ken have enjoyed the sounds of original music for years and have surrendered the other part of their yard for a quite listening venue.
Heather wanted to help create a listening venue for people like her to enjoy listening to the words, sounds and stories the artists get to share in these private venues. Always emphasizing on “listening” has challenged Ken to create the best sound system for the venue. They have built-in surround sound throughout the yard and inside the house for guests refilling a drink or taking a break from the outdoors.
The house concert venue is set up with either an indoor and outdoor stage area complete with sound systems giving the attendees a real professional listening experience. Florida weather is always the determining factor to an indoor or outdoor listening concert.
Heather and Ken are very committed to the show must go on rain or shine. The structure of putting on a house concert has become a very fine oiled routine for the Settlemyer family. Their young adult children (Ian and Shandra) wake up knowing what to do to help prepare for the afternoon event. Ken is quick on sound setup, final touches on flyer creations, lawn furniture cleanup/placement and blowing off the dance floor for some side stage dancing. All to live up to the saying on the back of his shirt “There’s Got To Be A More Difficult Way To Do This” – Ken.
Heather is picking up flyers, cooking and placing last minute details in the artists goodie gifts (a personalized flask filled with toasted coconut rum). Heather is famous for her “Bacon Salad” recipe she makes as an attendee or host for house concerts. I was able to join Heather in the kitchen as she shared the recipe with me. Ready for this simple crowd pleaser dish you never have to worry about leftovers?
Seasoning is sprinkles from a jar of Maple Pepper w/garlic and 4 lbs of thick sliced bacon laid out on cookie sheets with baker racks to bake in the oven on 400 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes (until crispy or extra crispy if you prefer). Take a large serving bowl and line the bottom with 2 to 3 cups whole spinach leaves or chopped lettuce. Top with layers of the cooked seasoned bacon. Attendees looked for the bacon salad as soon as they entered the dining area.
Turning a shed into a bungalow has been named for it’s many purposes for the Artist to have a greenroom before their performance and later becoming a place to relax catching some rest on a fold out couch with a built in inflatable mattress. A small kitchenette to make breakfast and coffee at to enjoy on what was your stage the night before becomes a patio to view the habitat garden. This guest bungalow named “The Chysalis” meaning a preparatory or transitional state lives up to it’s name.
If you live or are traveling in the Bradenton FL area this is a must enjoy event from the greeting to the finale all the details are here for a sound perfect listening evening. A special Thanks to Heather and Ken Settlemyer of “ The Habitat” for giving artist from all over a stage to share their music in your community.