I built my first birdhouses a decade ago with my grandfather, Boompi. He passed away in 2010, but every year those structures around my home are still full of life. Every spring my daughter and I watch pairs of wrens, chickadees, swallows and western bluebirds fledge young from nestboxes built by her late great-grandfather.
I'm no ornithologist, just an amateur naturalist with an particular interest in birds. I also love building stuff. I started working construction as a teenager and over the years I've built homes, storage sheds, outhouses and chicken coops. Every project generates a lot of waste wood and I often wondered, "What can we do with all these scraps?" Nice Nests are my answer.
Nice Nests hatched in 2014 as a part-time business, based out of a rustic outbuilding my daughter named "The Birdhouse." From the beginning, my mission was clear: To re-purpose scrap wood into functional, species-specific breeding habitats for a wide range of cavity nesting critters. By the beginning of 2015, I thought this entrepreneurial endeavor just might fly, so I quit my "regular" job and dedicated myself full-time to this entrepreneurial endeavor.
I am a regular at the Twisp and Winthrop farmer's markets, partner with a variety of regional retailers and galleries, and sell Nice Nests at many of the bird festivals, garden shows, arts and craft events in the Pacific Northwest. My workshop is at the TwispWorks campus in the Methow Valley on the east slopes of the North Cascades. Stop by and visit if you are in the area!
After graduating from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA., I've worked in politics and construction, taught high school and snowboarding, labored in the tech industry, was a freelance writer, a sports editor, and tended bar. To see some of my humor columns, visit TwisptedReality.com. I built my own home near Twisp, where I live with my 6-year-old daughter and a goofy livestock-guardian dog named Skookum.
Patrick G Hannigan / Twisp, WA