MiVT: For the Birds, Bats & Beyond

GLOVER, Vt. (WCAX) The name of the business is 'For the Birds, Bats & Beyond,' but it's really all about this family of five. Their Made in Vermont birdhouses make a perfect holiday gift, and in return, the family gets a cool gift as well.

There's nothing like a little family bonding -- or cutting, or nailing, or sanding, or painting over the holidays.

"There's not many people that can say their immediate family is their employees," said Ricky Blanchard.

Blanchard has been building bird houses for 20 years, following his grandmother's love of birds.

"It's really awesome. It takes a lot of work for him to do it," said Abby Blanchard, Ricky's daughter. "I think he likes building his own things and likes being his own boss and being able to do what he wants to do."

The birdhouses come in two different styles depending on the bird. They're made of cedar provided by Goodrich Lumber, close to the Blanchard's home in Glover. Not only does cedar last a lifetime outdoors, but it also repels insects that spread disease.

"You don't need tools to clean these. It's just a pin that we've designed, so you just pull it and open it up, so it's very easy to clean. So there's no excuse not to clean them," Ricky said.

Once a week Ricky and the family load up this truck. Then Ricky takes them to the UMall for a busy weekend of sales.

"It's like a reunion. That's why I like to sell them, to have that personal bond with the person that you actually sold them to. To see them enjoy it and to tell you their stories is probably the best part for me," Ricky said.

And that's why Blanchard prefers to sell the birdhouses at the UMall as opposed to shipping them out. They're being sold here every day until Christmas Eve.

The money made from the birdhouses goes to the Blanchard family vacation fund.

"It's a win-win for me, because we spend so many hours together as a family building them, and then the benefit that we get out of the people buying them is that we all get to go away on a vacation together," Ricky said.

These homes draw birds away from their nests, but building them happily keeps the Blanchard family from leaving theirs.