Born Gregory Paul Zirbel on March 6, 1962, at Merritt Hospital in Oakland I was just two weeks old when my parents packed up my two older brothers & I and moved us up to Truckee where I developed my appreciation for the great outdoors. All my elementary years were spent guiding horseback trail rides into Cold Stream Canyon from Cold Stream Coral located just behind the Donner monument.
Soon after graduating in 1980 I landed in Sonoma County to attend Santa Rosa Junior College. Landing a driving job with UPS where I worked for a dozen years until I hurt my back in the fall of 1992. This is when I decided to make my own Christmas gifts from reclaimed lumber. I was top woodshop student at TNT so why not. It just so happened that I ran into and offered all the lumber I wanted from what was once the largest pig farm in Sonoma County on Railroad Avenue just south of Cotati. I ended up building about 350 birdhouses from that lumber, many resembling historical Sonoma County landmarks. An old west whimsical look is what I was going for, a ghost town of my own. Many people who saw them said they’re the most beautiful birdhouses they’ve ever seen.
Well, I moved on and spent the next 18 years working in the computer field as Technical Support Specialist. Laid off yet again in 2009 I told myself I’m glad to be off that roller-coaster ride and moved back home to Truckee in 2012 and into the same house I grew up in since 1964. Well, I’ve recently been putting much more time into my art which is what I was meant to do anyway because it’s what I love to do. It feels great that I’m able to save a little bit of California’s rich history by creating my whimsical replicas complete with a detailed document of where each piece of wood comes from.
I prefer to salvage and use lumber with a historical past and always looking for more, hint, hint. Along the way I’ve never been without my camera and have amassed many images of nature’s beauty, but also missed building my Birdhouses. For a detailed look at my collection, please visit La Fleur Rouge on West River Street across the tracks from the train depot or at the Artisans Market Place and Marty’s Café in the historical Brickelltown section of downtown Truckee or visit me at NeatTweets Workshop at 11596 Brook Lane. Currently I am an active member of the Truckee Donner Historical Society, “601” Regulators and guide for the Donner Party Hike to list a few.