It’s raining today in “sunny” Sequim – pretty much a downhill slide into autumn. All things considered, the summer has been glorious for us: high temperatures mostly in the 70s and no smoke from wildfires.
The Sunday soup is simmering as I consider a theme for this fading summer. And really, there is only one thing that I’ve been utterly devoted to…


Until we moved here, I didn’t know how much I love rocks. I mean, I’ve always picked up a pretty stone here and there. But now after visits to beaches and rivers, my pockets are so heavy with rocks that our walks have doubled as weight training. Rialto Beach in the west, has the flat round basalt rocks that are perfect for stacking and drawing upon. It is also the place where I collect delightful orbicular jasper pieces.

A drawn labyrinth on basalt
Polished (in MY tumbler!) Orbicular Jasper

The northern beaches on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, have chalcedony (I think) in the form of agate, quartz and carnelian. We also just discovered bizarre concretions that sometimes have fossils.

I have “hag” stones and “wishing” stones, round rocks and flat rocks. Every surface is covered with rocks from one outing or another.

Hag Stones (also called Faerie stones)
Wishing Stones

To be honest, I don’t really have a grasp on rock types, other than the 3 classes: sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous. What I DO know is that rocks are really, really old – like hundreds of thousands of years, and older! And I don’t know why I never thought about it before, but they are bits and pieces and cross sections of the Earth!

So, back to this summer’s theme…
On June 2nd, my first beloved rock tumbler arrived! It has been steadily tumbling rocks ALL SUMMER LONG!

Some of my tumbled rocks!

We are fortunate to have a shed (with electricity) in the backyard, which is perfect for a tumbler. It has 2 rubber drums, which reduce the noise, but still, I’m glad we have a shed.
[Side note: I share the shed with a bachelor bat. He hangs out (literally!) during the day despite the rumble of the tumbler. At first I was a little creeped out, but now I accept our co-existence.]

Like I wrote earlier, I’m not sure what most of the rocks ARE. I do a little reading about how to identify them. Mostly, I simply admire them, hold them, and contemplate their ancient origins. I might try my hand at wire wrapping to make a pendant or two.

Here is a little video of the tumbling process. It documents the first week in a 4-week process.

4 thoughts on “Summer

  1. These are beautiful, Pamela. I can see how enjoyable both the collecting and polishing would be(as well as the organizing, of course). I am going next Saturday to visit cousins in Reno. Your post here reminded me that my uncle(cousin) used to polish rocks. He made some really lovely jewelry pieces. Mostly I remember bracelets. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to keep any. I wonder if there are still any around the house….

    1. Thank you Janet!
      You know me… I love to collect and sort the stones.
      I’ve also been trying my hand at wire wrapping some of the stones, for pendants or whatever. It’s not as easy as the tutorials show, but with a little practice I may get the hang of it.

  2. Pam ~ This is wonderful, beautiful stuff. The way you put together this mandala–it’s amazing. It looks like it’s almost moving, and the placement of particular stones, just gorgeous. Of course, I’m envious of the whole tumbler thing. So glad you’re doing this. And if you’re not overwhelmed with requests, I might just send you a rock or two–but you probably get a lot of that.
    Very proud of both you and Jeff for keeping creativity alive in what I imagine are lives as busy as anyone else’s.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Thank you Camille! I didn’t intend for a super formal mandala, but the way I sorted them was very satisfying. Jeff thinks that most of my projects are a just a ruse to sort stuff. It’s true, I do love to sort what I collect.
      And I would love to tumble any rocks you send my way.

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