Critter Creek Ranch
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How Things Began


    Nestled in the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo County, Critter Creek Ranch is set amid the rolling Cabernet wine grapes that support the wine industry flourishing on the Central Coast. Designed and built by John and Michele Rickwald, this 10 acre ranchette is the culmination of 5 years of combined efforts to build a unique location to showcase local events and group functions. Born and raised in southern California, John and Michele sold their towing service and relocated to the Central Coast with their two sons in July 1994. Raised in and around the motion picture industry, John learned his trade from his father, a set painter for 20th Century Fox Studios. John spent his younger years playing in and around sets like Daniel Boone. This early exposure is probably the most burning reason for John's desire to live in an old western town.

    A first generation American (a Brit at heart), Michele would tell anyone who would listen that she was a displaced country girl. She learned at an early age that hard work and dedication reaped tangible results. Her father, a landscaper by trade, was raised on a farm -- and they say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    Combine John's creative nature and Michele's stick-to-itiveness and you get Critter Creek Ranch. It started as 10 acres of hardpan with an old dead cornfield that was surrounded by aging barb wire fencing. Today it boasts a pole barn, cattery, is cross fenced with corrals, animal pens, green pastures and a raised garden. The orchard has been regenerated and is producing multitudes of fruit for Michele to can. One of 18 facades is finished and John is constantly adding more lighting and effects to show off his creations. Michele and John are constantly working to keep moving forward. Friends and neighbors alike stop by regularly to see the new additions and get ideas on improvements that might make their properties more like that of Daniel Boone.

    Epilogue: How did it get it name?? Michele emailing her trials and tribulations to a friend about critters migrating through the dry creek that runs through their property jokingly began referring to her place as Critter Creek Ranch... It stuck!

, John Rickwald