Let it rot.


Old machinery, Campbell Tree Farm

The annual Christmas tree battle had begun, and my family was finding various ways to cope. Emma and Jacob had brought their potato pellet guns and were volleying between the trees. My mom huddled in the car. I had my eyes peeled for art. Of course, we were all eventually swept into the fray.

“That one!” said my sister Becca, pointing to a portly Blue Spruce.

“It’s too fat,” said Sarah.

“Big-boned,” I said.

“That one!” said Sarah, choosing a well-shaped tree.

“It’s too short,” said Becca.

“She has you there,” I said to Sarah.

So it went, back and forth and round and round again. The general mood sat somewhere between Becca and Jacob’s expressions in this photo:

Eventually, I took a stroll to warm up my feet and observe the decor. Once upon a time, I worked at Johnson Vegetable Farms as a sales associate. That’s where I first experienced the carefully crafted kitsch of country decorating.


A farm is the only place where you can leave a rusty wheelbarrow lying in your yard and call it cute. Decorations must be old, dusty, rusty and/or musty. If it’s not broken, break it, throw it in the tall grass, and presto!



I tried to make my sister Emma pose in that chair for a photo. “Ewwww it’s really squishy!” she said squeamishly.

I wonder how old the tractor actually is. From a farm decorator’s perspective, it doesn’t matter. Just scuff up last year’s model and plant something on the seat!


Does that truck work? Probably not.

Are you convinced that your local farmer is actually a very cunning exterior designer? I’ve made enough adorable blackboard price signs to know that rural business owners are definitely shooting for a certain target. Of course, most country decorating comes down to waiting for things to decay.

“Why did they just leave it out there to rot?” asked Emma as we walked away from the tractor. “Rot” is the only color on their swatch, sis.

BONUS PIC: Click here for a pretty sweet stealth pic of Farmer Campbell himself (he’s in the background, behind my dad).


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