Tuesday, October 3, 2017


According to the area events calendar my little southern granddaughter wasn't the only one celebrating being 5 this past week as KINSTONE located on the ridge overlooking the Mississippi east of Fountain City celebrated their 5th year to hold an open house. As the grandbaby really started her sixth week, KINSTONE was in its sixth year of existence..
Actually, I had never even heard of KINSTONE, a ridge top megalithic garden and permaculture sanctuary, before reading about yesterday's open house with music, tours, food truck and  more. The 'more' was the unexpected magnificence of the setting great for classes, retreats, tours, plant walks, birding, seasonal alignments, etc...

Every one of KINSTONE's projects in the past 5 years has been to fulfill their motto of Regenerate Relearn Revive. A lot of work and thought has gone in to what a visitor experiences in this magical place.

People collect all types of things. My son actually'd find a stone to bring back from wherever we'd travel. I think he and Kristine Beck, the person who conceived KINSTONE, have something in common as they both loves stones.  Fortunately he liked the size stones that would fit in his pocket whereas Kristine always loved travel to places where there were large stones like Stonehenge and she made it her mission when she moved back to a parcel of her family's 4th generation farm to recreate what she had seen on her travels. She decided on using granite. Can you imagine the energies required  to find and move these pieces from the quarries of Cold Spring Granite Company in Minnesota and South Dakota?

Amidst the restoration of an oak savannah, a 2 acre prairie, pasture, food forest, numerous unique buildings, sit 100 + granite standing stones dotting the 30 acre parcel of land with 3+ stone circles. It is a spiritual place for connecting with the land, our past and present. 

Also on the grounds are:
The Three Witnesses aligned with the equinox for sunrise through the round equinox window. 

A Dolmen which has at least 2 upright columns holding up a capstone. This Dolmen has 4 and its capstone weighs 13 tons. Eegads.
This sacred 'Remembrance' Dolmen honors those that came before us, our ancestors, and is surrounded by 5 large guardian stones. 
What an undertaking to construct the 12-15 ft deer fencing protecting  the new growth on the savanna and prairie. (Look left of the grey stone to see the fence posting.)

 A lot of work has gone into this restoration and creation of stone gardens, a labyrinth, sitting circles, buildings and gardens.

Cranes were used to place the bigger stone between 3  to 6 feet deep depending on their size.  Some are really ginormous. Here's  Natureman next to one in the KINSTONE circle.(R)
Grass paths meander through the different sites and en route we visited the sauna, a cordwood structure built by 3 previous workshops.  It is a post and beam frame with cedar cordwood and colored bottles interspersed allowing their charming diffused light to its interior.

Its dressing room has antler towel hooks and cedar benches don the sauna equipped with a small wood fired stove for heat. 

Next stop was a yurt, a round tent covered with felt and insulated  walls, which can house small meetings, yoga classes/even  sleeping quarters as it is set up now. Other platforms are available for similar use.

 Followed by the Thatched Cordwood Chapel dedicated to St. Francis.  There was a serenity throughout the grounds but sometimes one might need shelter from the elements. Inside the chapel were elements of other religions. Buddhist bells, 

a lovely glass stellar mosaic and a prayer tree where one can attach a prayer on a fabric strip. (On Oct. 4th the tree will be burned and its prayers will find a new path.)

The farthest most structure we encountered was Dragon's Keep, a cordwood building with a living sedum roof will be the future welcome/info center for KINSTONE with a sign in book, brochures and its history. 19 dragons are hidden in the building which a little person graciously helped me locate. (An aside: later in the afternoon her little brother decided to run after a cat into a cornfield across the street unbeknownst to his frantic Mom. Fortunately, I had witnessed the event and could help find him!) 

Different stone seating is available for taking it all in... and by all means don't forget to look up. The skies were putting on a spectacular show themselves... 

The summer solstice corridor and the pond ..

with a pier rock

next to KINSTONE circle

We took a lunch break as Kristine's sister has a farm to foodtruck  for those who get hungry. If you have a chance to eat from her food truck locavores will be in heaven and others will taste the difference in fresh locally bought and homemade food. We ordered the Sheep Dog, a lamb brat with stone mustard and sauerkraut accompanied by fried sweet potato chips. Perfect.

Their menu as you can see ( zoom in on) was for both omnivore and vegan.

We listened to music by the Bus Boys close up as we chowed down our lunch soaking in the perfect gorgeous fall day sitting at picnic tables by the Educational Center.

Down from the educational center were the compost areas with squash growing up their fencing enroute to the raised garden beds, the snazzy chicken coop and home for the dwarf goats. Accessible feeding and egg collection out front and ramps in the back for the animals into their pen areas. 

The straw clay cabin is another building example. Inside is a rocket heater another example of radiant heat. It's function is similar to our masonry fireplace back in the End of the Rainbow Valley where warmed up mass radiates heat. 

 Here inside the cabin  is a bur oak sculpted while the clay plaster wall was wet and on the outside wall are 2 honey combs with bees. Bee- u- ti ful. 

There was a lot to see at KINSTONE and
impressive  firepit
we probably missed some but I took a lot of photos. Unshown are the star wall, cob oven, solar dehydrator, educational building, gardens, bee boxes, animals, prairie flowers etc...- 

One thing I know for sure is we will be back in other seasons and bring others with us. KINSTONE is just a very special place.

So go to their website and check them out. Sunday tours are from May 1 to Oct 31 at 1pm with a suggested $5 donation per person to help maintain the grounds and projects. Call to check out their schedule and classes. You won't be sorry.
Here's the link where I found them. KINSTONE tours

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