HootnHoller almost never was.

When I was little, I dreamed of becoming like Jeff Corwin, exploring the world, discovering animals... just sitting in the wilderness, alone, watching how animals behaved in nature. I would lose myself for hours in the woods, catching frogs and snakes, playing in the creek and exploring with my dogs.

I would often sit for hours in the rabbit hutch while my mother did yard work, just watching or holding my rabbit. Almost every photo of my childhood featured some kind of animal in it.

I dreamed of becoming a herpetologist. A veterinarian. An explorer.

Then life happened. I got married and had kids. I became a stay at home mom and started homeschooling my children.

Life happened to you too, right?

Life happens and then it stops.

My dad, who loved animals just as much as I, who helped us search for my amazon, Loopey, when he went missing, who brought my kids baby goats and would do anything to make them smile, was diagnosed with cancer in 2017.

My dad was a tractor repairman and salesman and a skilled carpenter. He did not make it through the year.
Before he passed, he gave me all of his woodworking tools. His saws, planers, drill presses, sanders.. everything. Shortly after he passed, we moved it all to a shop at my house. I did not know what to do with these acquired things or even how to use them. But I knew one thing.

I did not want his things to go unused. To sit abandoned and collect dust.

I started learning what things were and how to use them. Soon enough, I was experimenting with making my own perches, platforms and toys for my parrots. Years of watching how animals behaved gave me insight on how animals play and interact with toys.
It seems like it all happened so fast. I opened an Etsy store and began selling. I made mistakes. I failed over and over again, but I kept going.

I had a logo created in honor of my dad. It features two of my birds, and Walter is dressed how my dad always dressed, in a pair of blue jean overalls and a big hat. He always embarrassed us when he wore those overalls to town.
HootnHoller is alive because my dad died. When he passed, he gave me an opportunity that I embraced and ran with. A purpose other than being a mom. A way to support my family and still incorporate my love of animals.

My business has grown over these few short years and I continue to improve and learn from my customers' feedback and animal behavior. Dad has been gone awhile now, but by going forward in my business, he's kept alive. His story and gift have reached so many people, it's almost unreal to me. My logo has been in packages sent around the world. Toys that I still make to this day with his gift, are bringing birds and their owners joy.
In 2021 I needed a larger building to accommodate growth. We purchased my dad's building. It seemed right, every time we need something, he's there to provide it, even now. The space was cleaned, painted and updated. The tools were moved back. Lights were turned on and new life was breathed back into his space.

His overalls were still hanging on the door. A sign in the router with half my daughter's name...something he was working on but never finished.

Sometimes I come to work alone before the busyness of the day hits. I breathe in deep and take it all in. What would he think of what I, of what my family, has done with his gift? Did he know all along?

Needless to say, HootnHoller has a special place in my heart. Every piece of wood that is cut and sanded, every logo applied, brings back my dad for me. My family and I are living a dream we never knew we had.. and that dream is possible because of you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for coming along on this journey with us. Dad would have loved every minute of it.

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