FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. -- On Kristine Beck's property near Fountain City, Wisconsin, dairy cows have been replaced by towering, megalithic structures.
"This particular land where it gets real steep was used for pasturing cows in the old days," Beck said,
The place is Kinstone, and it's just a stone's throw from the Minnesota border. Of course, that all depends on the stone.
"There are stones that range in size from small boulders that are maybe 650 pounds, to a 70,000-pound boulder that I have here," she said.
Twelve years ago, Kristine got an idea. Instead of building a home on her 30-acre site, she decided to build formations.
The great Stone Circle was the first structure built on this property. And despite its size, it only took 10 days to put together.
Beck had visited Stonehenge in England three times and loved the idea of a circle that could line up to the sun for solstices and equinoxes. So, with help from a quarry in Cold Spring, Minnesota, she did the design, and they did the delivery -- 21 semi-loads, to be exact.
"Some of those semis were one stone per load and included extra axels and extra permits, and some couldn't go across certain bridges and those kinds of things," she said.
The chapel nearby was also a labor of love. She and friends built it out of cordwood. It has a thatched roof, and liquor bottles in the wall let the sunlight through.
"Those bottles represent the river running west-east, just like the Mississippi does here on this bend by Winona," she said.
Linda and Jack Ainsworth have a special connection to Kinstone. While visiting the Mayo Clinic from Texas, Jack was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
"They told me if I hadn't come up here with her that I would have been dead in two weeks," Jack said.
So, they sold their home and moved to Minnesota so Jack could get regular treatment. He goes to Mayo for check-ups. He goes to Kinstone for tranquility.
"You bring what you bring to it, and it takes back from you whatever you bring," he said.
No two structures are alike at Kinstone. For Beck, the stones are record-keepers; old formations that never leave the ground. But people are still moved by what they see.
"They find an emotional release here that they were not expecting," Beck said. "They have their own way of telling us something."
Kinstone means "family stone." There is also a stone labyrinth on the property, and Back hopes to build another one in the future. Visit Kinstone's website for more information.
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