Many of you know that Hubby and I have been looking for a home in the Paso Robles, CA area for a while now – a long while now… Hubby has a great job down there and for the past two years, we have commuted the 5 hours (one way) to see each other on the weekends.

We don’t want to sell our ranch here in Grass Valley because we love it and as Hubby climbs the ladder, we’d end up back here anyway.

So, purchasing a new place with at least 10 acres in the Paso Robles area – that we could afford (wine country) – has been a tall order.

But, we finally found a house that will work for us!


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Gasp! We are taking the plunge! We made an offer on a house in Paso Robles!


So, to be honest, it isn’t our dream house.

But we cannot afford our dream house so I guess it is our harbinger house.  It is close to what we want but not quite.  Maybe a messenger of houses to come?…  Or, maybe we can make it into our dream house.

We had a list of criteria… and to be honest, we gave up a lot of our criteria the more we looked.  Basically, we both had to feel good in the setting.  We both had to be able to see ourselves living there.  We both had to smile about it.

We have surmised that we were able to afford this home because it had been on the market for so long that the owners gave up and took it off of the market.  I just happened to see an old sign when I was previewing the straw house (this house is 2 doors away from the straw house).  I asked our real estate agent to call on it… and their real estate agent decided to push them a bit to consider selling it again.


It wasn’t even for sale.

In short, the house had some of our criteria:  At least 3 bedroom/2 bath and in decent condition.  It has 10 acres with some fencing.  It is in a decent neighborhood.  It has room for the horses and my office.  Hubby has a garage and a nice patio with a view.

What it doesn’t have is:  Trees.  There are absolutely no trees nor shade on any of the 10 acres.  This makes me sad but … I can plant trees.

The reason the house was on the market for so long without selling is obvious.   It is horribly disjointed – presently.   I can totally feel why people didn’t purchase it… You see, it started as a regular, older 3 bedroom 2 bath house.  Dated kitchen and living room.  Then, they decided to add on a master suite, making the old garage into a large office and adding on a 3 car garage.

The problem was that the new part of the house is not integrated to the old part.  It is like Frankenhouse.  It is if the whole house is scabbed together to make a new house.  Weird.

But, for us, we like the new part… a lot.  So, we’ll figure out how to integrate the old part and update it – slowly but surely.  And, bonus, there are plenty of rooms for our friends to come visit.

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Frankenhouse. You can see the new part added to the horizontal old part.  (This Google photo was taken after a long hot summer…)  And, no trees… But, we can plant trees, like the house next door. And, the views are very nice up there on the ridge.


The back 3.5 acres are sloping and have no trees.  But, I do have a friend who is excellent at moving dirt, so I was hoping to create something like a Paddock Paradise.  It will take time and planning, but it could be very fun.

On the side of the house, there are 3 mostly flat acres that would work well for a barn, paddock and arena.   I need to spend more time there to figure out how the wind blows and where the rain falls.  It is also the highest place on the ridge so we’d like to find the very best view and put a sitting spot.

The front 2 acres are very picturesque and I was thinking of white fencing instead of the black I have here.  I like black but Hubby prefers white.  Hubby wants to tree-line the driveway.

There is a road that circles the house – great for the horse trailer.

Our street is a dead end – and I saw three horse ranches back there.   So it is a horse friendly street and probably horse feeders nearby.  There might be riding back there… not sure.

The street is paved!

We have nice views.

Unfortunately, the house is an odd color for an exterior that neither of us like much at all.  Another reason it didn’t sell previously.  In time, we can paint it.  No worries.

There are fence posts but no horse fencing… no shelters.  I will have to do all of that – on a budget at first.

And did I mention that there are no trees?  In a way, I feel badly for the horses.  I think they will miss the topography of this nice horse country where we live now.  We  have hills, trees, rocks, dirt, sand, slopes, flats… we have it all.  But, as someone said, a horse’s home is where you are – so just take them with you and do your best.  I’m not sure if that is true but I’m going with it for now.  And, I plan to do everything I can to make them happy.

So, that’s what I’m going to do!


We still have a lot of inspections and reports to pass.  We have to make it through escrow.

In the meantime, we’ll spiff-up our place here and get it ready for renting.  Ah, so much to do!

Hubby and I are very, very excited!  A new, fresh blank slate!  How fun!  Oh, and this new house is only 11 minutes away from the Work Ranch that I described earlier this week!  Yay!  Miles and miles of riding!

This is NOT our place, but it is across the street and up a few blocks. I just wanted you to see the area in the Spring.

This is NOT our place, but it is across the street and up a few blocks. I just wanted you to see the area in the Spring.


WILLOW AND TOM who were living in filth, covered in ticks and given only rotting vegetables and fruit to eat!  Click here!

Our February Bucket Fund horses were starved, living in knee high muck, covered in ticks and only given rotten fruit and vegetables to eat! Click image to read their story and donate! THANK YOU!

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20 comments have been posted...

  1. Sarah

    Congratulations – a long time coming and huge efforts on your part are finally rewarded!

    Re: paddock paradises, best idea for horsekeeping ever! I have Jamie Jackson’s book and love watching the YouTube videos (esp. the one you provided the link to, hadn’t seen that one before). A couple of thoughts when planning your own personal Paddock Paradise: make sure the lanes are wide enough to drive your pickup truck through so if you have to fix fences it’s easier than lugging supplies everywhere. Also these make nice riding lanes and you want the lanes to be wide enough for you and hubby to ride side by side! And, don’t leave corners – no tight, right-angled corners that is, esp. if you do run-in sheds. Corners trap horses and sooner or later in any group, someone is going to get crabby and corner a buddy for purposes of trouncing into submission. So, round or angle your fence corners, and for a run-shed just block them off (or build an octagonal shed – that works too). Anything to avoid a tight corner that a horse lower on the pecking order than the one having a bad hair (or wild hair) day might get trapped in.

  2. Renee Yank

    Yay!! And here is a website I found a long time ago for trees – it’s fascinating: When I moved 2 yrs. ago, I put in a simple Paddock Paradise which I did for movement (to avoid colic and laminitis). I get to watch my horses walk right past my windows! And my hoof trimming went from every 4 wks. to every 8 wks. I could really not trim at all, but I like to check things out every so often. Your horses will love it!!

  3. RiderWriter

    So excited for you, Dawn – I really hope this works out and your patience has paid off! :)

  4. Jan

    I recently bought a house. Not perfect (hmm) but good for the horses. I’ve done nothing but work on the outside. The inside can wait and be worked on in crappy weather. Most important was getting the area right for the horses and their companion goats. I ended up getting a 4 horse mare motel from Cactus Corrals. The best deal price wise. They delivered it (and I’m not close) and a guy that use to work for them does nothing but install, put it up. Of course all for a price. But being retired and on a limited income all together it was the best deal. What was so cool was that it was delivered one day and the next day the crew showed up and it went up in one day. Kids are happy. You can add outside walls to it also which is the next project. Good luck on the new house!

  5. Rox

    There is actually an up-side to no trees. And that is if there have not been trees there of the fruit bearing sort then you probably won’t have soil contamination with heavy metals from years of orchard spraying (have the soil tested anyway….just sayin’).

    You might consider fast-growing blooming shrubs (including shrub or hedge roses which do really, really well in your new area along the driveway to give you some sense of pleasant landscaping while the trees grow. A tree allee is so lovely when mature, some people (like me!) have been known to buy a property with a long, tree-lined driveway just because that was what spoke to me the loudest. But while impatiently awaiting frustratingly slow tree growth it’s nice to see green plus color and blooming shrubs make that magic happen pretty darn quick.

    In your pastures or paddocks, in the fence corners you might consider planting non-poisonous shade trees (you won’t for example want black walnut which does grow very fast but those trees will make sure you won’t have growing grass within a large perimeter of the roots and they make the soil toxic to horses too, read about black walnut poisoning online). After planting, place an angled keep-away protective fence across that corner to keep eager four-legged browsers from ensuring those trees won’t mature.

    I think you’ll find in the long run that a blank slate for your landscaping creativity will be one of the things you enjoy most about your new place.

  6. Chris Stone, England

    Good Luck to you both Dawn. I hope it all goes through. I am sure you and the horses will be very happy there.

  7. Laurie

    I just finishing watching the entire PADOCK PARADISES!
    Wow wow wow
    That was awesome…I can see how you want to strive for that!
    It sure had every element for the horses.
    Sure shows how much they care.
    I wish you so so so much luck on this endeavor, you and your hubby deserve this for each other.
    That video was so peaceful…it’s a gotta watch one.
    The black headed horse seems like the you think so?
    Dawn why do horse paw in the water like that?
    Love this
    He separations do the grassy areas too.
    Thank you so much for info!!!!!!!

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