Old Door Hardware

This is the hardware on a small storage shed. History baby.

A few of you who have been following me from the beginning, way back in July 2010 when I had more time to post, know that for the first year and a half or so of this blog, I was living on a farm north of Spokane Washington while my husband was mostly in Walla Walla and came up only on weekends, due to job issues. This almost 20 acre piece of ground just south of Elk Washington is really special. It was homesteaded in 1903, and we suspect that the house, barn and one other outbuilding were built from hand-hewn trees felled on the property. There are some HUGE tree stumps on the hillside below the house. Strong hard-working people built this place, and it is still in amazing shape 100+ years later.

We did some research into its ownership over the years. The Land Patent for this property was to Jacob Apold, originally 160 acres, on May 19, 1903. Jacob’s place of birth was Norway. He was 49 in the 1910 census, so 42 when he homesteaded here. There is a signature of Anna Apold on the header of the stairs leading up to the second floor, in pencil. It looks like the hand of a student just learning cursive. Census records show Anna married a Fred Becker in 1926, at age 20. So I would assume her signature is from around 1916. We found an old newspaper in the house (100 lbs of Cabbage for $1.25) from February 1931, stamped Louis Hoener, so we know “Louie” owned it by then. We don’t know when the property changed hands, but some Hoener family member owned this piece of ground for most of the last 100 years until we bought it in 2009.

It’s a place that inspires self-sufficiency. There’s a hand dug well on the property (no longer in use – but I always wanted to put a hand pump on it). There’s still a small portion in timber, and a large portion in hay or that could be fenced for herd animals. When we first moved here, the old outhouse was still standing (hadn’t been used in MANY years). You want to throw a log on the fire, bake a loaf of bread, and hunker down with a good book, your root cellar full, the animals snug and dry, and your toes under a hand sewn quilt, while the wind blows cold outside. More about additional treasures found on the property in this post.

We left the property in October 2011 for warmer and more affluent pastures when we moved to Walla Walla permanently, and the house north of Spokane has been mostly rented since then. We had hoped that the renter would eventually be able to buy the property, but that didn’t happen. So we’ve recently decided to put it on the market, after owning it for almost 7 years.

View from the ruin

The corner of an old building that is mostly long gone, looking towards the forested corner of the property.

We made a brief visit back up there a few weeks ago, and were once again struck by just what an awesome piece of ground this is. I’m not a super “woo woo” kind of person, but I do believe that certain places have a special energy all their own. And for us, this place has it. We felt it when we first toured it before we bought it, and we feel it every time we visit. I actually got up for an early morning walk before my husband was out of bed, and burst into tears while standing on the hillside overlooking the lower field. It actually physically pains me to let this place go.

But…we have other plans. Walla Walla is our home now. We’re becoming more and more enmeshed in the local sustainable food scene as our business grows. We enjoy a longer warmer growing season and almost NO snow in the winter time, and well, its easy to love it here too. We’ve listed with Jim Palmer Jr. with Real Estate Marketplace Northwest out of Deer Park. Listing here. Additional pictures from the most recent trip below.

Aspend Hillside

Aspen covered hillside below the house.

Stone Foundations

Old stone foundations, no doubt quarried on site. This was where the old outhouse – story linked above – once stood (between the tree and the building).

Dovetail Corner Barn

Hand-hewn dove tail corner barn.

Leather Hinge

Leather hinges on the hay feed slot.

Root Cellar

The root cellar under the house. My God how I love this root cellar, which doesn’t freeze, even in the deepest part of winter. Charlie liked it too.

Dovetail Corner Forage

Dove tail corner on the other old outbuilding, once used as a forge.

Hillside of Knapweed

Hillside looking towards the house (which is behind the aspens)

Crooked Pine

I love this pine, which flanks the driveway. I thought about naming my business “Crooked Pine Farm” after this tree. The base of this tree is WAY over on the right side, at about the center of this picture.

Yellow Yarrow

When we moved, we dug up most of the perennials I had planted out in the garden space and replanted them in Walla Walla. But clearly, we missed a few yarrow. This is a survivor from spring 2011. Clearly deer don’t like yarrow, and its pretty darned drought tolerant! I like to think I’ve left my own legacy behind here, at least in the form of a few seeds.


Knapweed. Yes. there is knapweed on the property. Good for bees. Not so good for livestock. We’re working on it. I also saw knapweed in an alleyway off of Division in Spokane while we were there. It’s friggen everywhere.

Still life with St.John's Wort

Still life with St. John’s Wort. A wonderful medicinal, that is also a weed in the Spokane valley and not good for livestock.

Fir Cones

Fir trees hold their cones vertical at the top of the tree, and when they are ripe, they disintegrate like so much cat tail fluff in the wind. You never see them up close on the ground…except for when the top of a fir breaks off in a wind storm. I just thought this was such a lovely tableau.

Kelvin's room

One of the sons (grandsons?) of the Hoeners, who owned the place for most of the last 100 years, was named Kelvin. Evidently one of the bedrooms upstairs was his room at some point. Remember those label makers we all played with as kids?

Old Wallpaper 3

We’re having the upstairs of the house resheetrocked, and so all the old original paperboard and wallpaper will be covered up. But I wanted to take pictures of it first.

Old wallpaper 1

It’s in terrible shape. Nothing to save. But SO much history.

Old Wallpaper 2

Detail of the flower pattern.

Hay Field

Upper hayfield. I am permanently enamored with the look of round hay bales in a field. I’ve taken pictures of them in two states and two countries.

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2016, where we’re miles away from saying goodbye to this place, and can only hope that the next owners love it as much as we do.