Saturday, October 29, 2011

You Finish the Spooky Story

This is in the spirit of the season. Just leave your piece of the story in the comment section and let the next person pick up the tale from there and continue it. I only remind you that my blog is read by young people, please keep that in mind as you write. You can add one sentence or a whole paragraph to take the story onto the next place. You can come back later and add a piece again after someone else has posted.

                                                    Stranded on Halloween

    The business trip had gone just as expected and closed off with a fine meal in a nearby restaurant.  Late in the evening as conversation drew to a close the  young man with his laptop case slung over one shoulder emerged from the dinner meeting and decided to go home that night and dropped the lap top on the passenger seat of his old Mercedes and  headed home. He set the  GPS system for "Go Home"  and cruised out of town on the highway he had arrived from a few days earlier.  The GPS spoke in a clipped British accent, exit in  5/10's of a mile. He was driving, his mind on the business conversations of the evening and followed the directive of the GPS unit.  Suddenly the lights of the highway were behind him and his car winding along a desolate roadway. A thin ribbon of water glimmered in moonlight over the guard rail. He had in one exit plunged from metropolitan hurry to rural darkness as the solitary car on the road. His engine spluttered........

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Local Haunts and Creepy Costumes

It is almost here the creepiest day of the year.  After the costumed kiddies retreat to bed with  bellies full of candy. After the teens on the prowl have settled to tell of all the bravado they showed that night. Late when only the brave dare visit the streets then do the spirits of past Halloween's cruise the streets of town and the hallways of some of our scare inducing landmarks! Welcome to Halloween 2011, where will you hide?

                                        The Ghostly Tavern and Fiddlers, Coventry (CT) Historical Society
                                                   Haunted Tours Open again Friday Oct 29

If you make it out of the woods stop by the fireside for Storytelling with Carolyn Stearns Storyteller.  I grew up in Coventry and live nearby, I know what haunts the forest there, do you?

                                            Not Scared Yet? Want More Fun?
Halloween Night the Willimantic Brewing Company is  host  to VoiceMail a special edition of the monthly storytelling open mic. This month, on Halloween night at 7 p.m. Spooky Stories all open mic!  Come early for dinner stay for the stories. 967 Main St. Willimantic, CT. Your host for the evening Carolyn Stearns Storyteller.
                                                            Carolyn Stearns Storyteller

 Don't think you are safe when the calendar changes to November for there are places that will always be thought of as haunted. Here are a few  if you dare look farther down the page!
                  Does the spirit of Nathan Hale still wander the family homestead in search of his hunting buddy and best friend Asa? Will the patriot who was hung by the British as a spy find peace in the forest that is his namesake?    Come to Coventry Connecticut to find out more.  Parking for the Historical Society Haunted Lantern Tours is here.

       Eastern Connecticut's Rail Trail through several remote areas and forests ( no rails and ties there it is a hiking trail) is home to a haunting by the Ghost Train. Listen for its whistle!

  Yes indeed this state forest is inhabited by a ghost of Mary E. Ask me about her visits when you come to  VoiceMail at WilliBrew on Halloween!
                          This is the second time I have captured a photo of her orb in the forest there!

Lastly a event coming up this winter inspired a day of video at the Old Tolland Jail Museum on Tolland (CT) Green. What fun creating these videos to promote out winter Campus Slammer.
                                                                            and another view
                               Wishing you all a Happy Halloween filled with fun and great stories!
for a previous blog on VoiceMail see:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Connecticut Harvest a Corn Story

Corn Harvest in Connecticut is  a story of 2011 rain and mud. For every day spent out trying to chop corn into much needed corn silage there is three days of rain. In the spring we had so much rain we couldn't plant all the fields some had standing water in them.
                                        Ruts in the fields, these are  minor compared to some

Corn likes it hot and sunny. This year we had mostly a cool rainy summer. The corn is shorter and the ears are smaller.

Fall comes and it is time to begin harvest but the rains just keep coming. Some days it takes a tractor or bulldozer to pull the truck to catch the corn, and a duo of vehicles to chop as well. Then repairs to the rutted fields have to be made when they dry.  When good weather comes the crew is working steady to get that  corn home to the silage stack.

Everyone will be happy when the stack is full and covered and we know we have enough feed for our dairy cows for the next year.
 The tarp covers the old corn we are feeding out still. The new corn is pushed and packed by the bulldozer. The tight packing into the cement lined pit completed, the plastic cover is laid over it and weighted by tires to protect from wind damage. Then the stack of freshly chopped corn ferments. This is the basis of our dairy cows diet.

A milk producing cow will eat approximately 40 pounds of corn silage a day. So it is important we get all our corn home and undercover. The frost begins to sap its nutrients so time is of the essence.

Our family came to this farm in 1772. The first 100 years here they were subsistence farmers. In 1871 they incorporated the dairy business. Since then the rhythm of the farm has stayed in tune with the seasons. The crops coming and going on the land are the basis for maintaining the dairy cows. The days of horse drawn milk delivery are gone and the glass bottles are only a Christmas Season novelty.The work of milking has gone from hand to machine, what is consistent is the Stearns family being stewards to the land and animals. 

This is our family story, of working the land and the land nurturing the generations.

For more of my farm and agriculture related blogs look at:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Autumn Colors Assignment

Autumn  Colors Time to Practice Storytelling Technique with Prompts

2011 will be a year to remember the lack of color by. The winds of Irene ( Hurricane downgraded to Tropical Storm) wrecked havoc with new England's quintessential  fall tourism drive.  There are some stunning tress out there but the hills a less aglow and the  colors more muted than other years. None the less photography in the fall is always fun. Go take some pictures before the scene is all WHITE!
Here is a storytelling skills activity. Look at the picture and see if you can spend 1 minute telling about the colors, petals and more. This is fun with kids and helps them learn an  internal clock for timing.

2 minutes what can be said about this choral like line up of pumpkins.  Like a writing prompt these storytelling prompts are kind of fun.

   I love this one gives ma all kinds of ideas. Can you make up a short story about this wheel barrow. Why is it parked so, what job is it waiting for or just completed?


I think images of train tracks are lonely.  What feelings do you get from these photos can they be used in a story? In a writing assignment we can use sounds if described, but in storytelling the addition of  sound can be  a  dramatic lift. Imagine a train/travel story  at the begining you blow one of those train whistles long and hard. Toward the middle with a little less vigor and at the end of the story a faint, distant lonely  whistle.
    " If yo miss the train Im on you will know that I am gone you can hear the whistle blow 500 miles" this quote from a folk song may be why I always imagine  lonely settings with train tracks.

other blogs I have posted with similar contenet:


Friday, October 14, 2011

The Bosun's Pipe A Calling

It was not so long ago when I was playing with a slide whistle that I remembered a great whistle. It was a shiny Bosun's Whistle that had been in the family. I was not sure who it belonged to , but I do remember that I was entranced by it as a child. The Bosun's Pipe ( or Boatswains Pipe) or whistle disappeared.


Now as an adult I get that, I was probably driving my Mom crazy blowing the whistle and the sound is high pitched.  Within the four walls of a house it would be a bit much. The whistle wasn't really gone. It turned up last night as I was poking through boxes of "stuff". So Mom had kept it just stashed it. This particular pipe could have been hers as a members of Mariners Club or my Uncles from Sea Scouts. It might have been my grandfathers from a sea faring adventure.

You can hear one played at the link:

They have been around since 1238 from what I've read on them. The Greeks and Romans using them to give orders to galley slaves on their ships. In 1671 the English Navy took up the pipe as a way of giving orders to be heard over storms at sea. As I'm writing this and the rain beats hard against the window, I can imagine the need for a piercing  call to all hands on deck.


Down through time the Bosun's pipe or whistle has been used, and still is today. I remember scenes from the old TV show McHale's Navy  with one. When I showed the pipe to my daughter she  said,     "Sound of Music" That may be the most common remembrance of a Bosun's Pipe for the non nautical. The wonderful movie scene where the Captain calls the children with the pipe. You can read more from the VonTrapp family legacy about the pipe calls  at this link:

another link with great info, diagrams and midi files is:

One piping term has become part of common usage here is a video explanation:


Are you hooked and you want to buy one to add authenticity to your next nautical storytelling? I found them for sale online in a wide range of prices the nicest here at:   or at

another  of my blog posts a  with nautical theme :

Monday, October 10, 2011

Little Lebanon Llama

I was driving through the town of Lebanon CT. a place so steeped in colonial American history, but on this day it wasn't the classic colonials, the mile long green or the  huge church spire that caught my eye. My attention was grabbed by a tiny creature just over the fence from the road. I stopped the car, backed  up and pulled off along side this new little life. How lucky that day my camera bag was in the co-pilot seat. Inspired by the long lashes and inquisitive little face I got out and took a few bits of  video and created a little short movie.
  Let me introduce you to the Little Lebanon Llama.
This sent me in search of links to Llama stories.

Amazon has the classic story Is Your Momma A Llama?

Here is a Llama Lover Support Group:

A Wonderful Story of Roger the Guard Llama

From the Andrew Lang Fairy Tale Collection - Lilac Book

I'm always attracted to the animal stories! To the animals as well, I have been fortunate to be able to get to know a huge assortment of creatures over the years.

Here are some of my other animal centered blogs that might interest you.