Faux farmVashon Island, WA

Vashon Island barn sketch by Chandler O'Leary

You know I have a real thing for farms—as evidenced by all the sketches that have cropped up here (no pun intended) so far. But I also have a fascination with fake farms—you know, the odd sort of agricultural replica that you sometimes see at museums, tourist traps, or—as in the case above—private property.

I love them because just like any roadside attraction, they range from the hokey to the poetic, with every variation in between. Just like the sort of thing you might find at Wall Drug, you get a scrubbed, glorified, romantic version of farm life—without having to muck out any stalls, fight brush fires or take out crop insurance. Yet both the places themselves and their visitors (including little ol’ me) are remarkably earnest in their enthusiasm.

This replica barn, with its replica mural and (probably) eBay-acquired vintage feed plaques, is much more than lawn decor—it’s a careful homage to the agricultural history of the entire island. While most of Vashon is still rural and dotted with farmland, you’re more likely to find beach homes than egg cooperatives these days. So while I’d still rather have the real thing, I’m glad, at least, that somebody wants us to remember how things used to be.

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