Giveaway! 3 StoryFest Family Tickets and 2 of Jane’s Books

***The Giveaway is over. Congratulations to Stacy and Sharene!

We have a Giveaway! Without further ado, here are the details.

storytelling-poster-2015-1-1Coyote Tales – the Vashon Wilderness Program‘s Annual Storytelling Festival is so much fun. Fabulous tellers and a warm, welcoming community within which to enjoy the tales. As an instructor in VWP, I can tell you that storytelling is essential to our mentoring of youth in nature, and helping to deepen their connections with the natural world, each other, and themselves. Storytelling is truly what we call a core routine, and we aim to “catch” our students’ stories as often as we offer stories of our own.

The Coyote Tales Storytelling Festival is VWP’s only live event fundraiser. VWP aims to never turn any child away due to a family’s lack of funds, and to that end, has given over $95,000 in scholarships in its eight year history. Wow!

When: Sunday, Feb. 8, 2PM. Where: At the Open Space for Arts And Community, Vashon, WA. Tickets: Advance – $40/family, $20/individual. Door: $45/family, $25/individual

If you live on the island, do consider joining us at this family friendly event. Forest Halls is a proud sponsor! And do enter our drawing.

For those of you who don’t live on the island, you can still enter the Giveaway and be part of story magic fun. I’m giving away two copies of my children’s fantasy novel Because Of The Red Fox to you!  Stories (from myth and elsewhere) thread through this tale, as do magical nature ways. Be sure to note in your comments that you are entering the drawing for the book.

 Want a Chance to win a StoryFest family ticket or a copy of my book? Here’s how!

  • Read my blog post about how We (humans) are a Story People. Comment here about how you share story in your family or a special experience of when your family shared story (in any form!).

For more chances to win, leave a separate comment each time you do the following. Note in at least one comment whether you are a Vashon Islander or not:

  1. check out the description of Coyote Mentoring on the  Vashon Wilderness Program web site and tell me what you think is most compelling to you about Coyote Mentoring.
  2. blog about a Coyote Mentoring idea or about storytelling (please leave a reference link in the comment)
  3. Sign up for the Vashon Wilderness Program’s newsletter and receive their free booklet “10 Awesome Practices to Make Nature a Natural Part of Your Family Life.”
  4. Tell me about one of the “10 Awesome Practices” you’re going to introduce to your family
  5. “Like” the Vashon Wilderness Program on Facebook
  6. On Wed. Feb. 4, at 8:30am PST, Voice Of Vashon/KVSH 101.9 FM will interview VWP’s Executive Director, Stacey Hinden. Listen to this live streaming interview with Stacey about story, nature connection and children, and more, and share something you learned or found exciting from the interview in your comment.

And here are even more chances to win!

  • Sign up for Forest Hall’s ezine, Acorn To Oak. Are you already on my mailing list? Then please share something you enjoy about my ezine (newest edition will be out by Tues. 2/3) or blog.
  • Read my blog post Magical Doors, about reading aloud to children, which is another kind of story enchantment. Share here about a book you enjoyed as a kid or that you’ve enjoyed reading to kids
  • Follow Forest Halls on Twitter and tweet this Giveaway with hashtags #foresthalls #familymagicgiveaway . (Please list your Twitter ID in the comment so we can find you)
  • Post about this Giveaway on your Facebook page

Sign ups for the Giveaway end at 11:59PM PST on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. I’ll draw the winners on Thursday, Feb. 5. There will be only one prize per family. Good luck, everyone, and thanks for entering!

***Note about the Comments capsha: Just in case it’s not clear from the instructions below, you need to click on the little images until they turn right side up.

When Mischief Sneaks In

Recently I discovered some cool drinking glasses with red foxes on them … and then noticed red foxes on aprons, file folders, kitchen magnets. Suddenly, foxes are everywhere!

My niece tells me that foxes are owls are “in”.

Gosh, so I have ever more reason to “fox walk” and use “owl eyes”. (Download the Because Of The Red Fox book preview and scroll to p. 25 if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)  Maybe you’d like to join me too in sneaky silent walking and wide-angle vision — both of which are really great for glimpsing the magic that’s all around us, right now.

Below is a photo of those glasses and the book, with a bit of presto-change splashed upon it. May it inspire you to discern the mischievous wherever you are!

Where have you experienced the fox or her/his mischief lately? Please share your story here!

Red Fox Mischief
Foxes are everywhere! Photo Art by Jane Valencia


Late Winter Wonders

FoxTales features guest posts by characters from the magical fiction novel, Because Of The Red Fox. This post is written by Annie Wakefield-Browne, cousin to Shell Wakefield (protagonist of the book).

Hi! I’m Annie, and I’m super-excited to be writing to you today. Let me tell you about some of our day, and maybe you’ll tell us about yours.

First off, it’s been crazy rainy and windy at times for the past few days, and hail the size of peas spat down this afternoon. Okay, so it hasn’t been as windy as it was about six years ago. (Folks on the island always talk about that storm if you bring up a topic about wind and rain. You can read what Jane had to say about it in her Wise Child Learning blog post, Thunderbird Takes Wing)

But the hail spat like bee-bees from a bee bee gun onto the backs of the ducks in the poultry yard. Oh, they were so confused for a bit, but eventually waddled under shelter.

Near sunset, though, I wandered  out into the field to my favorite Hawthorn tree–she’s kind of like a great-aunt to me, or an elder friend. Anyway, I stopped by to say hello, and I noticed that all kinds of lichen lay on the grasses, blown off by the wind, I guess.  Tomorrow I think I might collect some of the lichen for Jane (you know, the writer of our book, Because Of The Red Fox). I think she’d like to make some medicine from lichen, from Usnea, because of its amazing anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

Hawthorn In Winter - photo by Jane Valencia (c) 2013
Hawthorn In Winter – photo by Jane Valencia (c) 2013

Oh, I bet Aunt Elinn, Shell’s mom, would like some too, because she’s an herbalist–well, I’d call her a green witch. That’s really a better term for what she does.

As I wandered about, noting the Usnea, I started noticing the trails along the edge of the field, close to the blackberry and the woods. Wow! There’s a regular highway along the edges of fields, and lots of turn-offs where the animals lunge into the shrubs. Little tunnels are everywhere in the hedges, if you stop to look.

Who makes these paths?

I found a pile of droppings — deer droppings, I think — near one tunnel that seemed to slice through between some pokey holly. If that tunnel is big enough for a deer, it’s big enough for me! I pushed past the holly and …

… and found myself in an amazing secret place! No one would ever, ever find me if I decided to make this my own private shelter, my own private teahouse even. Well, the deer might find me if they decide to pass through, but I could just crouch by one of the cypress hidden away here, and just think my own thoughts.

… mmm!

I pushed back out of my secret hideaway (it’s really just a pocket of a place been our field and a neighbor’s yard, and then wandered a little further.

By now the grass was glowing green with hidden sunset (the sky was filled with low gray clouds). And down the trail the old apple trees were dancing.

Well, not like they were up and moving. But that’s what they looked like and that’s how they seemed.

And that was my sunset!

So tell me. What do you notice at the edges of your yard or a nearby field , or the edges of any outdoor place? Are there trails, tiny or large? Who or what do you think uses them? Where do they go? Do you notice any tunnels?

Do you have a secret hideaway, right where you are?

Thanks for reading! Good night!