Dan Savage, a writer and advice columnist for The Stranger newspaper out of Seattle (and not for the prudish, as he deals with a lot of explicit sex advice questions for all comers, from sis to trans to everything in between) is famous for coining catch phrases. One of my favorites of his is The Campground Rule. In this scenario, an older person dates a substantially younger person, and in the end, as often happens, things don’t work out. Dan has no problem with the age difference, as long as you follow “The Campground Rule”. Your goal, should you be the older person in this situation, is to leave the younger person in better shape than you found them.

This catch phrase occurred to me, as we sat around our last camp fire (of scrap lumber) on our property just north of Spokane. We bought this property in September of 2009. I lived there, mostly alone (husband was working in Walla Walla), from June 2010 until October 2011, and the first year and a half of this blog takes place on this property. I moved to Walla Walla in October of 2011, and the Spokane property has been mostly rented to a young guy and his girlfriend and kids for the past 3 1/2 years. But he moved out in June of last year, and an adjustable rate mortgage that was likely going to start adjusting up made us decide it was time to put it on the market.


We have a deep attachment to this property, and selling it has been a difficult decision. But a buyer was found (we actually had several offers) and we officially closed and handed over the keys on May 25th. I wish the new owners as much joy on the place as we’ve found. May they find it a sanctuary and antidote to the crazy world we live in.

I like to think we honored the camp ground rule as best we could.


We did a tremendous amount of clean up over the years, including removing a fallen barn eve roof and the moldering pile of hay that had been rotting underneath it for an inordinate amount of time.

We took down the falling down old outhouse and found some unexpected treasures. The poster of the pin-up girls stayed, framed, with the house.

DunnRoadHeManThe final clean up after the tenant left included finding a home for 700 unused beer bottles and taking 4 loads of junk to the dump. Included in the clean-up was this action figure toy, who originally had a green weed sprout growing out of his head like a horn. It kind of summed up how I was feeling that day.

We painted the entire lower level of the house, changing it from a dark cave like army green to bright white ceilings, tan walls and a red wall accent. Because of trees and the way the house is placed, it does not get a lot of direct sunlight. I’ll never understand the former owners urge to make it even darker by painting the ceilings green! Oh, and in case you are wondering, painting ceilings SUCKS and “ceiling paint” takes two coats over dark colors.

We put on a new roof, removing the original shake roof and the old tin roof over the top of that, putting down new plywood sheeting, new shingles, and adding additional insulation to what ceiling space was available. Untold generations of wasps were disturbed in the process.

Most importantly, we recently resheetrocked and recarpeted the entire upstairs, covering over the truly terrible old mud/tape job, the old thin paperboard wallpaper, and the plywood upstairs hallway. In one bedroom, we dropped the ceiling height down to 8 feet and added additional insulation. All the horrible dated and flat-out ugly light fixtures were also changed to new bright LED lights. In the end, this upgrade is what sold the house. It had a ton of charm and you could overlook the old house quirks, UNTIL you got to the awful dated upstairs. We fixed that.


This house was likely built in 1903. I’d like to think that we were able to help ensure its around for another 100 years.


Miles Away Farm Blog © 2017, where its good to know when to let go and move on, and also good to appreciate what you’ve had.