willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs


My Stint as the Replacement Drummer for the Rolling Stones

Clearly Mick was in need of a fill-in after his unexpected health issues so the first person that came to his mind was me. The caveat was that for the concert I was to be his fill-in for, I wasn’t actually filling in as the lead singer, his well known position, but rather I was to be the drummer. The band was shuffling its members around in Mick’s absence, so their drummer Charlie Watts was moving to lead singer and I was filling in on the sticks. My prowess on the drums is far less competent than my singing so it was with trepidation that I hit the floor and began to play at the all night concert. Yes, you heard me correctly, we were playing all night long. Sometime during the very long night, to my embarrassment, I fell asleep. Can you believe that? Upon waking up, I was mortified to see that I had lost my drum sticks and they were rolling around on the floor of the stage which also happened to be rolling. To keep the energy up at the all night performance, the band decided to play on a moon bounce, parachute-like surface. Have you ever played drums on that type of surface? Neither had I… and upon trying to retrieve my dropped sticks, every time I was close to retrieving them, due to the movement of the surface, they rolled away from me or I rolled away from them. Soooo many times I was so close!

Thankfully, I woke up from my very hilarious yet disturbing dream, for it was so real AND I remembered every part of it. It is not often that I can remember dreams that wake me up in the middle of the night… this one I did, every moment of its black and white unfolding. Every time I fell back to sleep, I was still rolling around chasing those darn sticks! It dawned on me as I was waking up that morning, still recalling the events of the dream as if they actually had happened last night, that it might be trying to tell me something.

You see, this dream occurred right before the opening of our last Barn Sale this Spring. The time period directly before a sale, about the last three weeks, are some of the longest days that we pull getting ready for the opening. I have been doing this long enough now that I am well aware of this and I try to plan those weeks accordingly. I accept no social gathering offerings, no offsite design appointments, no scheduled venue visits to look at our event space, basically allowing for those weeks prior to a sale to focus solely on setting up for the barn sale. What I cannot control in that carefully controlled schedule is life itself. Even with the most carefully planned and orchestrated calendar… life happens and as we all know, it often happens in ways that we had not accounted for. That it did… again… prior to this sale. Lets just suffice it to say that family hospital stays, shipment delays, the Easter holiday, heavy rain… again, sleep issues and dreams, such as the one above, all made themselves known, highlighting this quote, “We plan… God laughs.”

Having encountered “life happening” in the few weeks prior to our last sale, my preparation was still going on in the wee hours of the night before our Preview Party brunch. I had decided around 3 am, that it would be much less tempting for me to just lay down on the couch in the lower barn, instead of going inside to my nice warm bed which I might not get out of in time to be ready to open the following morning. Plopping myself down on the couch, fully clothed, shoes and baseball hat on, lights on, I crashed as soon as my head hit the pillow. About twenty minutes later, I felt a sharp pain in my chest. Instinctively, I pressed my hand against where I had felt the pain that had suddenly awakened me. I felt it again, but against my hand pressed against my chest, I felt a buzzing, a vibration and the pain again. “Am I having a heart attack?” I thought in my sleepy, foggy haze. I soon realized that there must be a spider in my shirt or a bee, but don’t bees only sting once? I bolted upright, clawing at my shirt as I felt the pain a few more times, grabbing at the offending perpetrator. A black hornet showed up in my hand, which I violently threw on the floor, stepped on and then promptly laid back down on the couch. In the 3 seconds it took me to fall back asleep, I remember thinking to myself, “I hope that I don’t have a reaction to those stings, for they are awfully close to my throat.” Now that is tired!

As a small business owner, one has many roles as we’ve discussed before. These roles run the gamut, from ideas to design, from planning and organizing to staffing, from property and barn maintenance to parking duty, from menu and drink selection to cleaning. These roles are varied, all of them being fueled by a particular vision going on in my head of what I would like our guests to experience when they come out to an event or barn sale. A very strong vision indeed. One that is fed by a couple of factors. The primary being the constant barrage of social media images that come across my feed. My phone is the first thing I reach for upon waking. This is coming from a woman who prior to using social media as our only way of promoting our business, never slept with her phone next to her bed… never. Now it is the first and the last thing that I look at before hitting the sack and then waking up each day. There is something wrong with that image that I am partaking in. How many of us are in the same boat? We are lured in by image after image of gorgeous cooking, beautiful gardens and homes, beautiful people, health options, beauty products, etc, etc, etc. It used to be that I only came across these images when I had the time to flip through one of my favorite magazines and they typically were focused in on beautiful homes, designs and recipes and that was not often. Now these images are focused on life itself, that entity that I just spoke of, that so often, we have very little control over. While we want it to be pretty, there are often many aspects of it that are messy. Would people be as apt to sleep with their phone next to their bed to wake up to pursue those images… of life in all of its messiness??? Would we click LIKE on an image of a failed recipe that looks nothing like the well stylized ones we currently see? A floral arrangement that looks absolutely nothing like what we see online? A well designed room that we like and feel comfortable living in but pales in comparison to what we see again in those little images that flick across our screens? A child who had not attained his goal that was very important to him/ her? Hmmm… I am not sure.

Trust me, this is one of the biggest dilemmas that I face in this business that is based on an aesthetic, a look, and a feeling. We create beautiful environments and experiences here, that is our business model. How can we show messy ones that are not up to par with what is out there?

One of the other things that fuels the vision that I have for when people attend one of our events is the experience that one encounters here. I want people to feel good when they come here. Would they get the experience they do now if the environment was messy, similar to my kitchen, my family room, my closets or other areas of my house that are not on display? Should I post photos of those? My real life areas? I guess the reason we are so lured in by all those beautiful photos we see on social media is to escape what we often encounter in our own homes, what we might be dealing with in our own lives. Is this social media rage and way of life, all based on escapism???

I have shared a bit of the messiness of my own life, of Gods way of laughing at our best laid plans in this little blog of mine. In the past year, we have gone through many shifts here with integral members of my little team shifting roles, adapting to their lives and adding on as we are able, hoping to take the load off of our little team as this business grows. We are in the process of redesigning our website so that it is more in line with what we do here at Life’s Patina. From the very beginning of the formation of this business, the meaning of life and what it looks like based on our experiences and the “patina” it develops, has been a major part of my focus… thus the name. Yes, we love beautiful things that lift us up, but we also love those experiences that do as well, even if they might be ones that test us to our outer limits. In composing our mission statement, many of the topics that I wrote about above, come into play and I wrestle with the words. The design and the aesthetic comes easy for me, the response to life’s events, pressures and reality do not. As I am sure they do not for you. The tough stuff is hard, so while we want to share with you beautiful environments and things to lift life up and elevate your home and surroundings, we also want to share with you the tough stuff in the hopes that we truly realize that we are all in this together. We can have beauty and the not so beautiful in the same day… we can have it in the same minute in fact!

We had made the decision that we would not be holding the Summer Barn Sale the first weekend in June that we typically do in order to focus on the renovation of our Jenny Lind House, the future site of our second location. It was my stint as the drummer for the Rolling Stones and my run in with the black hornet that confirmed this decision. In years’ past, it has been a mad dash to restock and redesign the barn for that Summer Barn Sale. In addition, we really do need to shift focus so that we can make progress on the renovation of the old beauty that we know as the Jenny Lind House (shown above) that we have been working on in Historic Yellow Springs Village. Doing both at the same time might have caused not only a few reality reflecting dreams but a break down as well! We JUST received our demolition permit which allows us to really get to the nitty gritty of the renovation and I cannot wait to fully immerse myself in that project. For it is our hope and dream to open up a Life’s Patina Mercantile and Cafe in the old Jenny Lind House by the end of this year. This opening will adjust and change somewhat what we do here on site at Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm and our business plan for both locations which we will share as the weeks unfold.

We are however holding two Summer Sale Pop-Up days, listed below, over the next two weeks that will allow you to get your summer fix before our next full blown barn sale that will be held in September.

Summer Sale Days in the Barn:

Thursday, May 30th: 10am to 7pm

Tuesday, June 4th: 10am to 7pm

Select merchandise will be on sale. Plus, shop our bargain tent in the courtyard! Click here to learn more

One thing that I am extremely grateful for in carrying out this vision of what I want to bring to the people who attend our sales and read this little blog, is twofold. I am grateful to the women who have helped me orchestrate this vision, my little team, and for all of you who have supported us and made it possible to expand our little homegrown business! Typically a team consists of between 5 to 12 people. We have operated with a team of two and a half at most, all integrating when life allowed. As we increase our numbers to two full time and two part time, I am grateful for their guidance and support. I will be sharing more about this little team as the new website launches as well as more of what I have shared above and our tips and tricks for how to elevate the beauty in life when it is trying it’s darndest to hide!

Celebrating the beauty of life… past and present!


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