Thursday, 17 August 2017

Catch of the Day

I like grinding and polishing and tumbling agate but I LOVE cutting it! You never really know what you're going to get.
This little stone was only about one inch by 2 inches but when I made the first cut, I knew I had to get as much as possible.

There is a beautiful contrast between the peach and dark brown and the last two pieces even have a little area of amethyst at the top.

So after we took this shot, I was able to cut one more section. I ended up with three beautiful sections for "The Boss" and one nice end piece for me that I decided to tumble in my new tumbler.
And speaking of the tumbler, here's a pic of some of the stuff I got in my first batch.

There are some beautiful examples of several types of agate and now I will sort them. Some will no doubt end up in our "free rock" box so if you stop by, you can take home a beautiful piece of the neck!
See you soon!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Natural Beauty of Digby Neck

My surroundings on Digby Neck are truly inspiring in their beauty and the last few days have certainly highlighted this fact. All week we have seen a fisher (mink like mammal) around the house and in the marsh. We often see mink and beaver as well but the fisher was cause for concern because it will kill just about anything- including porcupines!
So I was a little worried about the Great Blue Herons who nest in the marsh next to the house. Turns out my worries were for naught because this morning dawned grey and foggy- the quintessential Nova Scotia morning and as we were having our coffee on the deck, Vickie used her phone to snap this picture of five! herons fishing for their breakfast.

It's a little grainy but take my word for it, we counted five!
But apart from all the wild life, we have so much natural beauty, not only in the topography but in the rocks that make it.
Yesterday I worked on an amazing piece of agate that Vickie found last year. The "neck" in Digby Neck is a basalt massif that runs from New Minas to Brier Island. Cracks form in the basalt (an igneous rock) as it cools and silicate solutions flowing through those cracks (or faults) form seams of various types of agate. Here is a gorgeous example.

These pieces are about 3 inches long and are awesome since they have the same general shape as Digby Neck itself! They are fortification agate so in many spots, they give the appearance of being a topographical map of the area with the basalt beingthe Bay of Fundy and St. Mary's Bay. The red colour is a little band of hematite that frames the agate on both sides.
I now have 4 nice slices that I can turn over to Vickie to make 4 ideal Digby Necklaces that will be available in the shop soon and I have one nice specimen piece for sale. So if you want a souvenir to remind you about the neck- this amazing part of Nova Scotia- this is it! I know it is unlikely that we will ever find another piece like it so these pieces will be truly unique!
Tall ships are here for one more day so we hope to see you soon.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Busy Day in The Rock Shop

Colleen Collins is a new arrival to "The Neck" and has opened a Yoga facility in Freeport. She hosts retreats and individual sessions and if you want to know more, go to

She asked if we could do up some pendants to give to attendees at her upcoming retreat and we were happy to oblige so here is today's output.

All the stones are local and all the wire wrapping and clasps are hand done by Vickie. There is a beautiful selection of porcelain/ crazy lace/ fortification agates and jasper.

We are moving into high gear on the jewelry front and have some absolutely beautiful stones to work with so if this is an area that interests you, come on by. I might even be able to show you how I work the stones in the rock shop.

See you soon.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Birds!

With everything else going on around here, we sometimes take the birds for granted. We have our resident "murder" of crows who keep us company all winter as long as we feed them after a blizzard. The gulls, too, are resident and it is wonderful waking up to their cries. The cormorants are fair weather friends but at least when they arrive you know the cold temperatures are finished.
This morning as I went down to make coffee for "She Who MUST Be Obeyed" I noticed that things were a little different. Usually the gulls and cormorants are duking it out for the best spot on what's left of the pier but not today!
The Big Kahuna was in town!

Couldn't get a very good shot of this guy but trust me, it's a bald eagle and it gets to perch wherever it wants.

In the marsh next door, I counted four Great Blue Herons catching their breakfast in the morning fog.

This guy had caught his limit and took off shortly after the picture was taken but the other three were there for some time.

We also have several species of hawks, songbirds and a family of ring necked pheasants who take great delight in scaring the crap out of you when you don't know they are there!

Digby Neck is truly a special place and I hope you get a chance to visit soon.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Rock Shop Expands!

Had a visit from my friend Vaughn Tidd who used to operate Whale Cove Campground. Vaughn has been finding beautiful rocks and doing lapidary work for years but now he's moving into a beautiful apartment overlooking the harbour in downtown Digby.
Good for him!
Over the years, Vaughn has put together a shop with first rate equipment but it's now time for him to let it go and I appreciate it's not easy.
A while back I bought a trim saw/ grinding wheel and grinding arbor from him and am having a lot of fun turning out some beautiful stones. Now I have added a few missing components.

 This is a Mercury 10 inch slab saw made in the middle of the last century in Edmonton, Alberta. It is a real workhorse and will allow me to cut larger slabs which have proven very popular in the shop. The lower picture shows the motor that causes the stone to move automatically through the blade (important since cutting large rocks is a slow business).

This is a Calway (Lot-O-Tumbler) 4 pound vibrating rock tumbler that is perfect for polishing agate and jasper. As I get older, tumbling 40 pounds at a time becomes a bit of a chore so this baby is going to get a lot of work this winter and with the stones I have ready to go, we will have some beautiful stuff in the shop come spring.

So now I have a pretty complete lapidary shop.

That's the old Mercury Arbor across from the Mercury slab saw and the tumbler on the floor (temporarily). So now I can start with a pretty large stone, cut slabs, trim them, grind them, sand them, polish them and if necessary drill them so if you have ever wanted to see this done, drop on by!
And one last thing- if you see another guy in there, it will be Vaughn because while I bought the equipment, I've told him to come by any time and use it because I know how hard it will be for him to stop.
Look forward to seeing you on "The Neck".

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Shop Closed Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 9th, our shop will be closed because we will all be in Dartmouth helping our daughter and son-in-law officially kick off their new business.

East Coast Countertops is located at 71 Ilsley Avenue in the Burnside industrial park (902) 468-9452.
They have an amazing array of products to choose from at all price levels so if you are even considering changing your countertops, you owe it to yourself to check them out.

They are a true family company and their service and installation is fast, professional and courteous.
So check them out and if you are coming to the shop, we're back Thursday first  thing.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Good news for the Knitters!

If you are a knitter, you probably know that we are preparing for Knit City in Vancouver at the end of September. Our daughter Lisa has been dying her ? off and we have just completed a major restock of the shop.

We are overflowing to the point we are using bins!
WE have another exciting bit of news. Lisa and Vickie have developed a special commemorative colour just for the show! It's called KC Commemorative 2017 and here it is!

I am told that if there are any left over after the show, they will be available on Etsy and in the shop. We'll keep you posted.
We have had a lot of visitors to the shop this week but I have been able to restock the rock specimens as well so if you like rocks, come on by!

Friday, 4 August 2017

Between Two Bays Art Exhibition

Just a reminder that the Between Two Bays Art Exhibition (see post of July 13th) starts today, Friday Aug. 4th at 10 AM and runs through tomorrow at 4 PM.

Unfortunately, because of a communications error and timing issues, Vickie (Turner) will be unable to participate and we apologize to those of you who had dropped by the shop and said they wanted to see her work there.

Vickie's abstracts can always be seen in the shop so feel free to drop on by!

Again, we are sorry she can't show her work at that venue (Digby Neck Firehall) and hope that you can attend and enjoy the show

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Back to Work

Well, it certainly has been an interesting summer! Got my new hip May 4th but had to have a second operation to clean up a staph infection so it is only now that things are getting back to what passes for normal around here.

Our daughter, Lisa, is here and she and Vickie are hand dying yarn. Here's some drying in the breeze on the deck.

Here's Vickie hand painting yarn which will be for sale soon in the Etsy shop. It is absolutely beautiful!

And since I can now stand without a walker or cane, I'm back to work in the rock shop, working to replace the rock we have sold this summer.
So come on by and see all the beautiful new merchandise in the shop and check out the rock shop while you are here. Kids of all ages (and I mean ALL) really like seeing how the stone gets transferred from rough to polished.
We are in the process of adding several hundred skeins of yarn into inventory so the shelves will be bulging for all you knitting fanatics (you know who you are!)
Hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The Tall Ships are Coming!

When I was a boy, we went to Lunenburg  and I saw a tall ship leaving port in full sail. The sound of the wind in the sails- a deep whoosh, whoosh- was awesome and something I remember 60 years later! Now the tall ships are coming to Digby!

The dates are August 15th and 16th and if you are in the area, you have to see them for yourself! You will get a glimpse of what life was like in a seaport 100 years ago.

You can even see the replica of Nova Scotia's most famous ship- the Bluenose- a ship so beautiful she made it to the back of our dime!

But there is a lot more to see in Digby. We are the home to the world's largest scallop fishery and you will see many of those iconic vessels at the dock as well.

And if that's not enough history for you, drive out "The Neck" and visit us at The Artist's Mark Studio/ Shop, right across the street from beautiful Seawall Beach. The house was built in 1849 and the occupants (She Who MUST Be Obeyed and yours truly) are almost that old!

And if that's not old enough for you, we have Agates, Jasper and Fossils in the shop that are over 300 million years old! Now THAT'S history!
By the way, that's the Digby Pines Hotel in the background of the shot above- a great place to spend a few days and explore the area. So if you want interesting scenery, unending photo ops, friendly people and great food, come to Digby and see the Tall Ships!
We'll be waiting for you.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Our Own Little Art Colony!

Each year, more people discover that Digby Neck is a great and unique place to live. Among them are artists who find unlimited inspiration in the beautiful natural surroundings. So far this spring, we have had several new arrivals come in and say hi and tell us a bit about their craft. On top of that, we have some amazing talent that has grown up right here! We have several galleries and many artists (including ourselves) are more than happy to have visitors tour their studios.
It has reached a point where we felt that we had the critical mass necessary to put on our own local art exhibition and sale.

So if you are here in early August, stop by and see some amazing art and meet some of the local artists. You will see a fascinating diversity of mediums and styles and you may even be moved to take home "A Piece of The Neck"! Vickie Turner, our resident artist will have some pieces there and if you want to see more, just drop by our studio/shop, The Artist's Mark, on your way out or back from Sandy Cove. You can't miss us- we're right on the highway.
And if the tide is out, leave some time to walk the beach across the street and maybe find your own "treasure"!
Each year there are new things to see and do on Digby Neck and more and more people are visiting for reasons other than the amazing whale watching. So if you are considering a Nova Scotia vacation this might be the perfect spot for your family to spend a few days.
And when you come, stop by The Artist's Mark Studio/ shop where each visitor gets to choose their own free tumbled stone as a souvenir of this amazing area.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Summer Finally Comes To The Neck

Well, after a pretty lackluster, cold, damp spring, summer has arrived on The Neck. And just in time because we are seeing more and more out of province plates on a wide array of cars, campers and motor homes travelling highway #217.
I am pretty well over my hip replacement and complications so we are getting back to our normal schedule but I'll be in Kentville on Friday for most of the day so we'll be closed then.

An Amazing Super Moon
Last night we were treated to the awesome sight of a super moon coming up over St.Mary's Bay. It was so spectacular that cars were pulling over in front of our house to watch!

That means that we are getting King Tides (higher than normal). And when the normal tides are higher than 22 feet, that can be pretty spectacular.

Knit City
The girls are headed out to Vancouver in September to display our world famous Seawall Fibres yarn. The good news for knitting enthusiasts is that Lisa has doubled her shipments to us and we currently have the best yarn inventory ever. So if knitting turns your crank, come on by and pick up a skein or two of the yarn we are shipping all over the world!

The "Rock Shop"
Starting next week, I hope to be back in there churning out specimens and jewelry for sale in the shop. I am also exploring the possibility of getting a few more machines to enable me to do even more. So if you have ever wondered how we make all this beautiful stuff, come on by and I'll show you!

So summer's here. The scenery is great. We have new places to see and eat on The Neck so if you have some time, take a little road trip down one of the most unique areas of Nova Scotia- the totally awesome Digby Neck!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

New Season- New Hip

Tomorrow, May 4th, I am going in for a total hip replacement. And to think, it was only 2 years 8 months ago that I was put on the list!
Ain't socialized medicine wonderful?
 Note to our American friends, take good care of yourself because this is what is headed your way.
So, I have managed to get some new agates polished and into the shop in the tiny space left after the yarn is stocked! (Just kidding- we have a really nice new area.)
Yarn Ready For The Shelves

Beautiful Rustic Pendant

And here's a shout out for one of our favourite knitters and shop visitors- Congrats Colleen Jones and her Nova Scotia rink who just won the Senior Women's World Curling Championship!

Just a note- Colleen tells me she hasn't lost  since she bought one of Vickie's paintings so you other curlers might want to give it a try! We have some amazing art in the shop!

Lastly, because of the surgery and rehab, our store openings will be a little sketchy for the next little while. We will be closed from May 4th-9th and after that, it will only be when Vickie is available for a while since I won't be able to get down there. If you are going to be in the area and want to stop by, call us at (902) 482-2188 or send an email and we'll do our best to be open for you.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

We Are Open!

After a really long, cold spring, there are signs that warmer weather is on its way. This morning we saw a couple of robins. True, they were cowering under the car to get out of the freezing rain, sleet and wet snow but they were there!
So, what's new for the shop this year?
To start, we have a new sign to replace the one that blew away.

 Inside, we have revamped the layout to enable us to show even more great items.
We have expanded our hand dyed yarn area to meet the tremendous demand that we have experienced since we launched Seawall Fibres last year. In our first year, we have sold well over 1000 skeins of yarn and have shipped it literally all over the world.
This is just part of the latest shipment we received from daughter Lisa. So if you are a knitter or fibre artist and plan to be in the area, you owe it to yourself to come on by!
Of course, we have plenty of other things as well, including beautiful, museum quality jewelry made from polymer clay and local semi precious stones.
 And I promise that one day soon I'll chain Vickie to her sewing machine and get her to beef up our popular bag inventory.
Kids love to look through the pile of polished stones to choose their free souvenir and I'll even tell them a bit about the rock they have chosen. And if I am not too busy, I'll be glad to show your family the "rock shop lab".
So make your plans now to visit Digby Neck, one of the most unique spots in the  beautiful province of Nova Scotia. The whales are all rested up and ready to entertain and our famous St. Mary's Bay lobster and Digby scallops are ready to be eaten.
I'll be getting a new hip in early May but we'll be open unless we say otherwise on this blog and I am back in the rock shop cutting, grinding, sanding, polishing and drilling some beautiful stone so I'll post pictures in future posts.
We look forward to meeting you.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Winter on The Neck

We are back from visiting our daughter who lives in the Bahamas and things are returning to "normal".
This is "normal" on The Neck in Winter.

A lot of people who visit the shop ask why the door opens in. The last photo answers that question. If it opened out we'd be using the door on the deck to get out!! The winds topped out at somewhere north of 90kph which accounts for the 3 foot drift at the door and 4 footer behind my car! It's still blowing pretty hard and the wind chill is -23 C so we'll just stay hunkered down for a little while.
Don't worry, it will all be gone by April so you'll have no trouble if you come on by. And you should! We'll have new yarn (which we have been shipping all over the world through Etsy) and I'll somehow get Vickie to put down her knitting long enough to make a new supply of her  bags that seem to fly off the shelf and even some new jewelry.
Digby Neck is a great spot to vacation so we're looking forward to seeing you!