As we prepared for our retirement the two of us decided that we needed to move to a new location. Our home in Simi Valley, California was a small tract home with a small yard and pool. For many years we had thought that the San Diego area would be a beautiful place to live, but we couldn’t move while we were teaching. Once we were established in a school district we would have lost a lot of money changing districts because school districts only pay new teachers in their districts for a maximum of five years of experience and we had far more than that where we were.
We looked at several rural areas in Southern California from Solvang south and signed up with several realtors for multiple listing updates on homes that met our criteria. One early Tuesday morning as I was reading the multiple listings that a realtor in Northern San Diego County sent me I discovered a home for sale with more than an acre of land. It was near our friend, Heather’s, home. After showing the listing to Pam I called Heather. She checked the property out for us that morning. After hearing her report we scheduled an appointment with the realtor, another Heather, for the following morning. On that Wednesday afternoon we put an offer on the house and property. After many weeks we finally got the bank to close escrow and we were the owners of what we affectionally call Rancho Relaxo, an approximately 3,000 square foot home on over an acre of land.
As can be seen in the first pictures on the first page listed below the place was very rough, just a house and some retaining walls with an abundance of weeds and dirt. There was absolutely no landscaping anywhere and the remains of the existing irrigation system were useless. No living sign of any of the plants and grass the previous owner had planted could be found. Even most of the lighting fixtures, both inside and out, were missing. What was left was very poor “builder grade” lighting. The property was not surrounded by fences and there was no garage or workshop. Fortunately, when compared to many foreclosures, the inside of the home was in great condition. It provided a well laid out floor plan that we thought would suit our needs very well. The acre of land provided some great spaces for our dogs and separation from our neighbors.
We worked on the house for a little over a year before we moved in on June 29, 2009. Don tore out the carpeting in all the rooms except for the bedrooms or areas that had ceramic tile. He installed laminate flooring where the carpet had been. A 24 ft. x 40 ft. workshop/garage was added along with some sheds for storage and a washroom for the dogs. A small 10’ x 12’ kennel building with three dog runs attached to it was also added to the property. Another enclosed dog run was added onto the one end of the house adjacent to the bedroom our boys live in. The kennel building and dog runs were built to provide protection for the dogs from the local wildlife when we’re gone, especially at night, and give them a heated/air conditioned space all year round when they have to be out there.
Our new home has become a great place for us as well as the dogs. It is geared towards providing the best possible living conditions for them. Laminate and tile floors, leather furniture plus numerous dog doors so they can go out and play or just lie in the sun whenever they want makes them very happy. The house and yard continue to be a work in progress, but the dogs love it here. We’ve included some pictures on the pages linked to below to give you an idea where our dogs live.
Outside we have finally done the basic landscaping. Our first and most important project was to provide plenty of space for our dogs to run and play. We also had to put up all the fencing to provide protection and divide up the spaces to keep the boys separate from the girls when the girls are in season. As we did in Simi Valley we have two layers of fencing between the dogs and the outside world. Two of our dog yards have natural grass and the other two are covered with artificial turf. In the winter the artificial turf sure cuts down on mud being tracked into the house. All four yards can be connected to the adjoining yards when we open the gates. This is almost a daily occurrence during good weather and the dogs, including the older ones, love to run from one end to the other.
We’ve also added a large front lawn area which is a special place for the dogs. On days with good weather when we have the time the dogs can go out there to run and play. If needed we can set up a canopy for shade so they have a place out there to rest as well. This area has already become a popular place for dog matches. We’ve held fun matches and AKC Sanctioned matches sponsored by the basset hound clubs we belong to out there with great success. Hopefully, as the trees we planted out front mature the space will be even better for the dogs and people. Part of our front yard area has now been turned into a rose garden and we’ve started some other gardens on the property as well. It is all evolving as we find the funds and time.
Our place is always changing. One of the latest additions to our property is some solar panels. We had a grid of twenty-five panels installed on the hillside above our garage. This has proved to be a great investment. It greatly reduces our electricity costs and we also help the environment. Fortunately we had a perfect hillside spot for it right next to the electric meter. We have also redecorated the front deck. It desperately needed a facelift. The biggest change visitors will notice is the improvement in the ramp leading down to ground level from the deck off our puppy room. It's now a very gradual decline rather than the steep one most of you have had to traverse when you visited or you have seen in puppy photos and movies.
As time goes on we will attempt to make Rancho Relaxo even better for us and the dogs. The only things that are holding us back are time and money with the latter of the two being the biggest hurdle. It takes a lot of money to take care of all our dogs and enter them in shows.
When you come to visit us at Rancho Relaxo you'll be greeted by Pam or me at our front door. We had this arts and crafts door made for our house.
The stained glass artist use some photographs of our Miller (Ch. Woebgon's Miller High Life) as an inspiration for the window.
We've redone this whole section so that people can see our property and home from the time we bought it to now. At Woebgon Bassets we're proud of the environment we've created for us and our bassets. Follow all the links below to see Rancho Relaxo up close and personal.
Special Note: Yes, this section needs to be updated. Unfortunately I just don't seem to get around to doing it. Things are pretty much as shown but plants have grown and matured.
Most people who know what this place looked like when we bought it are astounded by the transformation. As can be seen on thgis page the home and property were a little rough when we bought it.
Before we moved in we tried to make the place one that was great for people and dogs. The pictures on this page show some of the work we did or had done by contractors before we moved in.
One of the most important aspects of Rancho Relaxo was making it a great place for the dogs. We created several yards, a kennel room inside the house and an outside kennel building to make our dogs safe and comfortable.
One of the things we learned in our previous home is that there are times when a kennel building is handy to have. This is especially true when we have puppies. When they get old enough puppies can spend most of the day out there and they're protected as well. Sometimes we also find it necessary to put some of our adults out in the kennel.
We also recalled our desire to have a bedroom dedicated as an indoor kennel room in the house. Some of our friends had a room set up this way so with a four bedroom home we had the space to do just that.
Our dogs have always lived with us in the house. Even though we have a kennel building the dogs are rarely out there if we are home and they are always inside at night. We've followed that practice since the beginning because our dogs are an important part of our family.
We've done several things to make life comfortable for our dogs in the house. The girls have the full run of the house and as shown on the Kennels page the boys have a bedroom that's all set up for their comfort.
Obviously if we wanted to continue breeding provisions for having litters needed to be created at Rancho Relaxo. When we looked at the house we immediately saw potential but many aspects of what we needed were missing.
When we had looked at manufactured houses we were often impressed with the extra space they seemed to provide with master bedrooms. In this house we immediately saw that the nook off the master bedroom would be great for puppies, especially early in the life of a litter when someone needed to get sleep while the other one watched puppies. With the nook attached to the master bedroom with a wall between it looked perfect.
One of Pam's top priorities was to have a place where she could have a raised tub to wash dogs so she didn't have to wash them in our master bathroom shower. We also needed more storage space for all the things we needed when we had puppies and other things we didn't use very often.
The piece of property we bought included a massive area out in front of the house. It sloped toward the street and wasn't very useful for the dogs or us.
After talking with our landscape contractor we designed an area out front that was big enough to hold small dog shows and would be a great area for the dogs to run around. He had his crew do some minor grading to make a flat place and planted grass seed. Later we added a short vinyl ranch style fence with wire mesh to keep the dogs in and it helps keep bunnies out.
Somehow having dogs and gardens don't always go together. Over the years in our previous homes the dogs seemed to take over the areas where we had any kind of garden. When we moved here the property was large enough for us to have both yards for the dogs and garden areas. Yes, they are all separate. As can be seen in the pictures of our dog yards there is nothing in them other than turf (real or artificial) and in one case a tree. This was by design.
With more than 1.2 acres of land we have plenty of space outside our dog yards for other gardens. Actually not all of it is planted yet. With the water restrictions that have been threatened since we moved in and the cost of landscaping we haven't planted all the property. What we have done is to try to stabilize the hillsides and provide some beauty to our home and yards.
Several years ago after one of our friends and basset hound breeders visited our home she called it, "The Basset Hound Museum." because of our collection of basset hound items. Over the years our repartition of collecting anything with a basset hound or is related to a basset hound has spread. We've had people want to come to our home just to see the basset hound collection.
Don has been dabbling in woodworking for as long as he can remember. His father always has some woodworking tools and showed him how to use them. In junior high Don took a woodworking class and still has some of the projects he built.
Over the years there have bee times whis Don was able to do some woodworking projects but for the most part his attempts were very limited mostly because he didn't have a dedicated space or workshop. That changed dramatically when they moved to Rancho Relaxo. With Pam's full support a new workshop space was added to the garage space thet they needed for their new home.
Our Home and Property