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About Kinstone

At its heart, Kinstone is a land restoration and human rejuvenation project. This 30 acre site is a modern megalithic garden on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in the Driftless Region of Western Wisconsin. It is a place of art and creative expression on a grand scale. Love of the earth and wonder at the mystery and beauty of the story that we find ourselves in is at its core. Founded by Kristine Beck in 2010, Kinstone is a deeply energetic place where people come and find they are “re-membered” and transformed in some way by the land, stone, sky and natural world.

Many visitors come to see the natural buildings, the megalithic art, walk the labyrinth or to make a pilgrimage along the Way of the Stones. Others come to participate in various events such as healing sound concerts, drum circles, group meditation sessions, celebrations on the holy days on the great wheel of the seasons (i.e. solstices and equinoxes and others), and more. The property is open to the public on a published schedule. There is an admission fee to enter. Details can be found here: Plan Your Visit. Kinstone is also available for rental for various events such as daytime retreats, yoga, meditation, martial arts groups and  for weddings, gatherings, and meetings.

During self-guided visits you can expect to spend a couple of hours wandering a wonderland that seems as if it is from another time and place. Private guided tours are possible by special arrangement.

At all times, visitors should come prepared for a walk in the elements. Bring a water bottle, sunblock for sunny days, a walking staff, dress for the weather (sun hat, rain coat, umbrella for sun or rain, etc), wear sturdy shoes and be prepared to walk rough and sometimes steep terrain. There is not much shade just yet (the trees are still quite young); plan accordingly. Find more information here: Plan Your Visit and find us here: Directions.

Kinstone is simply stunning, full of wonder and beauty and is unique in all the world. It has been said that Kinstone may feature the largest privately owned stone circle in the world. There are literal tons of granite boulders, standing stones and sculptures. Visitors come to enjoy the beauty of the space, see our gardens, stones and natural buildings, find a spot for quiet contemplation and re-connect to nature, or take a circuitous walk around to visit the various features.

Amongst the diverse plantings, pond, natural buildings and food forests, this 4th generation family farmland has a stunning array of artistic megalithic settings including three stone circles, a dolmen, labyrinth, dry-stacked stone sculpture, and many standing stones. There are hidden meanings, symbolism, intentional numbers, angles, and alignments throughout. Various stones mark the cardinal directions and the passing of the seasons.

Kinstone is managed using permaculture as the foundation for the design and care of the place.  The steep, highly erodible, north-facing property offers many integrated examples of permaculture techniques and approaches including natural buildings, a pond, acres of  woodland, terraces, various types of swales, plantings of nut and fruit trees, restored native prairie and oak savanna, food forests, garden beds and more.

Vision / Mission / Values

Vision: We envision a world where all beings have access to sacred spaces where the interdependence of all creation is recognized and honored.

Mission: Kinstone blends conscious care of Earth with art to form sacred spaces that invite and inspire people to connect with and experience the creative power of the land to transform, energize and revive the body, mind and spirit.

Values we hold dear:

  • Love
  • Wonder
  • Gratitude
  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Hospitality
  • Transformation
  • Relationship
  • Creativity
  • Care of earth
  • Care of people

Founder

Kristine Beck is the founder of Kinstone. She purchased this 30-acre section of the original family dairy farm she was raised on from her parents, Roman and Angeline Bork, in 1994. She is the 4th generation on her father’s side to work on this land. An entrepreneur at heart, she returned to her family land to build Kinstone after successfully selling a software company she had started in 2001 with a business partner. Kristine now dedicates her time and energy to Kinstone where she is blending conscious care of the Earth with art to form sacred spaces that invite and inspire people to experience the life-giving power of the land to transform, energize and revive the body, mind and spirit. She facilitates sacred walks around Kinstone as well as monthly women’s circle gatherings and group meditations. Kristine is an amateur photographer focusing on the beauty and wonder of nature, especially as seen at Kinstone. Her current, self-appointed title is: Land Listener and her job is to listen to the land and help it fulfill its apparent mission to exchange life-giving energy with all beings.

Kristine began learning about permaculture in 2010. She earned her Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) in 2011 and has since been fully engaged in creating Kinstone as a peaceful place of beauty using permaculture principles as a guide. She is well aware that the moving of so much granite using trucks and large equipment is not the most environmentally friendly action. Also, extensive disturbance of the land was necessary to create the stone features, buildings and various earthworks. All of this great work is seen as necessary to fulfill her vision of manifesting sacred sculpture and megalithic features to help others come to feel the powerful energetics found here on this point on the earth. These energies invite people to transform,  heal, and revive. Bringing people back to life – helping them re-member themselves and that they are one with the earth, this is of utmost importance here, now.

Team

Kinstone is currently managed by Kristine Beck and two part-time persons who take care of the grounds and gardens.

There have been many key persons who have helped manifest this amazing place since Kristine started planning in 2010 and building in 2011. Each one has been woven into the story and is an integral part of the overall pattern that is Kinstone. Thank you to each one for his or her inspiration, work and weaving.

Clare Schoenfelder is Kristine’s sister. Ever since Kristine was a child she has been influenced by the creative spirit that is inherent in Clare. As she grew, no matter what Kristine put her mind to, Clare was there cheering her on and helping however she could. When Kristine planned a “research trip” to visit stone places in 2010 – Clare (and another sister, Betsy) came along to dream and wonder as we wandered through English moors, blooming Cornish countryside and the green isle of Ireland. Clare was the first one to volunteer her time and talents to help Kristine manifest a “place to be”. Together, they visited the granite quarries many times. Clare created a half-inch scale clay model of every stone that was a possibility for bringing to Kinstone. These models were used to plan the stone circles, dolmen, and other settings and the alignments between stones and stars. When it came time to build the labyrinth, Clare was first on the scene bringing shovels, wheel barrows and more. On the day the first truck arrived with a delivery from the quarries, Clare was there to welcome the first stone to Kinstone. All along, she has been here doing the hard work of being an unceasing support and creative inspiration for her little sister… and she cooks!

Clare is a fabulous cook. She has been in charge of food services for all events, classes and workshops held at Kinstone. When Kristine purchased a food truck, Clare was the manager of all that as well. The food truck was sold in January 2018; however, her recipes are still sought after.

Kevin Kihslinger is Kristine’s nephew; the son of her eldest sister, Linda. Kevin introduced Kristine to permaculture and later, to Wayne Weiseman. His creation of his own permaculture-inspired homestead inspired Kristine. Kevin spent time with Kristine working on the design of the stone circle and is the inspiration behind the Equinox Sunset alignment between the stones known as Lancelot and Atlas. Kevin and his family helped plant the first planting of trees at Kinstone in May 2011. They helped build the labyrinth and were there to dance and stomp to tamp down gravel as stones were raised in October 2011. Kristine refers to Kevin as a “pebble in the pond” – their initial discussions and sharing of ideas have rippled out across the place and are still doing so.

Wayne Weiseman is a permaculture designer, teacher, consultant and author based in Carbondale, Illinois where he is the director of The Permaculture Project, LLC. In October 2010, Kristine hired Wayne to create a permaculture master plan for the property. Wayne worked closely with Kristine for 7 years as a permaculture consultant as various features of Kinstone were created and earthworks and plantings were designed and installed. He has a gift for recognizing the spirit of a place, the “genius loci”.  Further, he was able to help Kristine find her own spirit in relation to the place. Kinstone would not be what it is today without many inspirations, recommendations and spiritual insights shared by Wayne. As work progressed in the early years, Wayne suggested that he would teach if we would start a school for permaculture to help others learn this life-giving method of design. Kinstone Academy of Applied Permaculture was created in 2012 to share what we were implementing here with others. Kinstone became a living permaculture classroom. Wayne taught Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) courses, plants courses, natural building, advanced permaculture design, and permaculture teacher training courses here. Hundreds of students studied and learned here during that time. Wayne has generously donated hundreds of books (perhaps even over 1000) to the Kinstone Library which boasts about 1900 titles on the shelves. He also donated the tepee and supervised its setup. Besides teaching and designing, Wayne built our solar dehydrator, top bar hive and bat boxes and he also helped implement many other projects at Kinstone including:

  • mulching and planting the original food forest plantings
  • building the light-straw-clay cabin, from the ground up
  • building the solar shower and outhouse
  • cordwooding on the chapel, Dragon’s Keep, and sauna
  • making glass bottle-bricks for the cordwood buildings
  • creating mushroom logs
  • building the post and beam frame of the sauna
  • building the platform for the yurt and setting it up
  • creating the cob oven and building the shelter over it
  • stacking stone on the dry-stacked stone walls of The Three Witnesses
  • he also brought his wife Frances and daughter Halima to Kinstone to help with several projects (Chapel, Dragon’s Keep, Three Witnesses, & various classes and workshops!)
  • and the list could go on and on and on…

At this time, Wayne is not actively providing consulting or teaching services for Kinstone, but continues to be an inspiration in many ways and is just a phone call away. Wayne can be contacted through his business at this link: The Permaculture Project, LLC.

Ivan McBeth is a druid, geomancer and authentically magical human being. Kristine found out about Ivan through the world wide web. She later saw him featured in a book called “Stone Circles: A Modern Builders Guide to the Megalithic Revival” by Rob Roy. She called him up to find out if he was still consulting on building stone circles – and he was! Ivan first came to Kinstone on April 15, 2011 to meet Kristine and see the land. He put the center stake of the circle in the ground on April 16, 2011 and then promptly told Kristine to move it. He said that he could not locate the center of the circle, that had to be done by the guardian of the circle to be built – and that was Kristine. So, she moved it!  Ivan returned to Kinstone for the raising of the stones October 18 through 28, 2011. He oversaw everything about the standing of the stones including which side of the stones faced in, which end was up, how deep each was buried, and generally how close they were put together and how they were aligned to the various seasonal dates. Ivan blessed each stone as it was raised and anointed each with all-heal, gold flakes and another potion. It was pure magic. Every stone has a token buried under it, Ivan contributed his special compass to be placed beneath the North Stone. 

Ivan McBeth passed away on September 23, 2016 from a sudden cardiac arrest, may he rest in peace.

Bob Baures is an earth artist. His tools are heavy equipment like bull dozers, backhoes, excavators, scrapers, skidsteers and big trucks. He is the chief operator for Tom Baures Excavating, LLC, based in Fountain City, WI – just down the road from Kinstone. Bob grew up next door to Kristine’s family and is like a brother to her. Bob has personally done or supervised the doing of all excavation projects at Kinstone. He created the foundations for all of our buildings, he leveled the land for the labyrinth, stone circles and other stone structures, he dug sockets for all the standing stones and placed gravel around each, he hauled 200+ tons of limestone building stone for the building of The Three Witnesses sculpture. Bob has moved boulders, rock and soil by the tons for many purposes here at Kinstone. Under his experienced eye, a pond, many terraces and swales have been created to hold water high in the landscape and slow it down as it travels across this steep land. The landform here has been sculpted by this artist and this work is, in the most literal sense, the foundation of Kinstone.

Warren Booth is a wizard with a 90-ton, all wheel drive, rough terrain crane. This crane operator was new to the task of raising stones when Kristine called Modern Crane in Onalaska, WI in 2011 asking for help to create a stone circle. Warren was assigned to the task. He proved to be a master of his craft with a superpower of being able to see spatially how things need to be picked up and manipulated before actually taking action. Under his guidance, the work to stand the stones of Kinstone Circle went smoothly, safely, and took much less time than anticipated. His professionalism and utmost patience was showcased several times when Kristine decided to change her mind and move or remove stones that had already been raised. Warren was fearless! He bravely drove that huge crane down our steep hills to stand stones below the labyrinth. That day was a nail-biter for Kristine, but Warren was cool as ever as he descended the hill and ascended again without incident.  Warren has been the operator of cranes and large forklifts for the movement and placement of most of the 185+ stones that have been intentionally set here at Kinstone.

Richard Kuisle was the life-partner of Clare Schoenfelder and like a brother to Kristine. Richard began helping at Kinstone during the planting of trees in May 2011. He was a willing worker and an angel in disguise helping Kristine with all things construction, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, etc. A true “jack of all trades”. Some of his contributions to Kinstone include:

  • helping plant trees
  • building a big sandbox to use as a base for a scale model of the stone circle
  • helping draw the lines on the labyrinth and helping build it out
  • helping raise the stones of the large stone circle (he helped stand and place many, many more over the years)
  • helping plan the layout of the office/education building
  • planning and facilitating the resources for many cordwood workshops and volunteer work days (i.e. Planning what kind of foundation, helping figure materials. He split the majority of the logs, mixed the majority of the mortar, cleaned out the majority of the rotten logs that give us these beautiful curvy pieces, he hauled and prepped sawdust, he set up and took down scaffolding, he strung out seeming miles of hoses to get water to our worksites, he assembled tools, generators and equipment, he moved pallets of cordwood and huge pine pole rafters and bundles of thatch, … )
  • building out the inside of the utility building including the storage loft, stairs, and the wood shop workbenches; created shelves, cubbies, and places for organizing tools, lumber and other resources
  • building our chicken coop using wood scraps, tin scraps and some new materials – complete with egg boxes
  • mowing acres of land in preparation for prairie plantings and during early days while the newly seeded prairie established its roots
  • helping create the Three Witnesses Sculpture from the ground up – moving huge blocks of limestone with the tractor forks, moving smaller blocks with his bare hands.
  • taking care of the grounds with consistent and dedicated mowing and trimming
  • operating Esther Cordelia – the Kinstone Kitchen food truck. He stood in that truck for super long events with Clare and made fresh sweet potato chips, lamb brats, pulled pork, chili and veggie burgers – while also keeping the grilled cheese sandwiches browning nicely. Then he would still shoot the breeze with the customers at the service window.
  • and the list could go on and on and on…

Richard passed away on November 4, 2017 from a sudden cardiac arrest, may he rest in peace.

Everyone that came to Kinstone knew who Richard was and many saw him immersed in his work of keeping this place running smoothly.  He is greatly missed.

A standing stone was raised in his honor on June 23, 2018. It is called the Richard P. Kuisle (RPK) Memorial Standing Stone. This stone is placed strategically in a number of respects. First of all – it stands where all of his hard work is within view. The stone is also set as part of an alignment to celebrate the summer solstice sunset – a perfect time as it is the longest day of the year – he spent many long days working right up to sunset and beyond. Finally, it stands in alignment with the Reflection Stone in the Stargazer Circle and Triangle Square, the stone that represents Clare in the large stone circle. Clare and Richard were life partners and aligned themselves in all ways. Now, Richard and Clare are aligned in a new symbolic way for eternity by an alignment through the Reflection Stone in the Stargazer Circle.

It is fitting that the seam face on the RPK Memorial Standing Stone is red – red is an accent color at Kinstone. It appears in many places, but as bright pops of color in places where things otherwise may be drab. That is how Richard was. A bright spot of color moving about Kinstone on a regular basis. Red is found in the red nebula in the star wall, the red dots in the stained glass windows of the chapel, and was even found in a surprising vein of “rich” red clay found beneath the ground at the center of the large circle. It is also a granite color that does not exist elsewhere on the property – so this is a unique feature. Just like him.

Mona Bork is Kristine’s sister. She is as selfless and giving as they come. She has been a pillar of support for Kristine.  Mona has spent many hours baking bread, prepping food, chopping veggies, peeling and prepping fruit for dehydrating or canning, and generally doing any task that needs doing relative to food and preservation of the harvest. She even spent hours shucking hazelnuts, then cracked them and shelled them, too! She supported many work projects by providing meals and treats. When Kristine needed a handbook of procedures and policies for interns, workers, and volunteers, Mona stepped forward and wrote one up. Whenever Kristine needed a morale boost, Mona was right there to offer it – unconditionally and fully. Everyone needs someone like Mona on the team – a “get it done” kind of person with a heart of gold, brimming with enthusiasm and joy.

Carolyn and Kent are friends of Kristine. She met them through her business in 2006; in her “former life”. These two have donated more volunteer hours and helped with more of the big projects than most others! They spent 8 days here during the building of the stone circle and helped stand the majority of the stones. They were there to put special tokens in the pit in the center of the circle under the stone called Beauty. When it was time to build the chapel, Carolyn and Kent made time again to come for at least a week of cordwooding!  They brought special tokens and talismans with them to put into the chapel including Fort Bragg beach glass, pieces of California redwood, sacred earth from El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, New Mexico, and other wonders.  Fast forward a couple of years and they were back for another 10 day sprint to learn dry-stack sone wall building skills and help construct The Three Witnesses sculpture. Again, they brought a lovely token from California to place in the walls – this time a lovely piece of granite!!  These two people are very special and are forever written into the heart and history of Kinstone.

Jarad Barkeim appeared out of thin air in 2011 when Kristine was looking for help. He visited, unbeknownst to Kristine, during a design session that was held at the family farm before there were buildings at Kinstone to meet in. He was a friend of another person (Kaitlyn O’Connor) sitting in on the session and he must of come in while Kristine was not looking and she did not notice him at first. While discussing the benefits of cordwood and thatch for a possible chapel, Kristine wondered aloud who would be willing to harvest all that thatch. Jarad piped up from behind Kristine with “I’ll do it!”.  Jarad then became the project manager at Kinstone up until fall of 2014 and during that time he stepped up to do many, many projects. Most notably:

  • built the tent platforms in the pines
  • helped build the platform and erect the yurt
  • built the stone stemwalls on the chapel and the Dragon’s Keep
  • led all the efforts to harvest over 900 bundles of Phragmites australis reeds from the Mississippi River over 2 winters
  • participated in every workshop and every volunteer work day and more to complete the cordwooding on the Kinstone Chapel; the final (monumental) task there was to clean up every log-end and polish every bottle-end in the finished walls – both inside and outside
  • making glass bottle-bricks for the cordwood buildings
  • helped build the frame of the Light Straw Clay Cabin and then led the efforts to infill with light-straw clay-slip and finish with earthen plasters and multiple layers of lime wash
  • cobwooding and cordwooding on the Dragon’s Keep and cordwooding on the sauna
  • worked with Thea Alvin and Michael Clookey to lay stone and helped teach others the art of dry-stacked stone wall building during the construction of The Three Witnesses sculpture
  • helped set many stones at Kinstone including those in the Circle of Mystery, Dolmen, the Monks, and the 4 megaliths in The Three Witnesses sculpture, and more
  • helped mulch and plant the original food forest plantings on the terraces near the Education Center building
  • helped build the cob oven and helped teach others about its construction
  • built the raised garden beds
  • built the compost bins
  • helped plug mushroom logs
  • helped design the stone setting called the Serpent of Transformation
  • led field trips and volunteer days
  • most recently: created the megalithic stone walkway from the East Entrance gate to the Dragon’s Keep
  • and the list could go on and on and on…

Jarad is a local – he grew up just fifteen miles downstream from Kinstone on the Mississippi River. He travelled quite a bit and did much trail building and numerous natural building workshops and trainings. He is a permaculture designer and a certified instructor of Iyengar Yoga.  Jarad holds a Bachelors of Science in Science Education from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC).  Jarad now lives in LaCrosse, WI, and has his own nature friendly permaculture design and landscaping business called Coulee Region Ecoscapes, LLC.

Jim Kampa is the builder/owner of Kampa Construction, based in Arcadia, Wisconsin. Whenever Kristine requires a builder, Jim is the first person she calls. He is a master at his craft, kind and considerate, punctual and an excellent communicator. So far, Jim and his crew have been responsible for the construction of the following key components of Kinstone:

  • the interior finishing of the Education Center building: kitchen, bathroom, storage, car siding, etc
  • the post and beam frame of the Kinstone Chapel as well as it’s steeply pitched pine pole rafters
  • the post and beam structure over the Dragon’s Keep including the 800+ sq foot living roof and pavers on the floor
  • the completion of the animal shelter with a space for hay, goats, and chickens/ducks/goose
  • the deck around the yurt
  • the pergola over the granite picnic table

If and when Kristine ever decides to build a home here, Jim will be building it!

Sara Gabrick is Kristine’s sister. She and Kristine share the same birthdate, just one year apart. They grew up together and now have adjacent properties that were once part of the original family farm! Sara owns the place across the road from Kinstone. Throughout the building of Kinstone, Sara has been a supporter and adviser in ways she may not even realize. There is a gate specifically set in the fence just for her: Sara’s Gate. Sara is a master quilter. She took time to design and create curtains for the Education Center building based on the elements, there are two each for fire, water, air and earth. They are just beautiful!

Richard & Becky Flatau are two amazing people who teach cordwood around the USA. They are based in Merrill, Wisconsin and are the good folks behind the company called Cordwood Construction. Kristine first met Richard Flatau at the MREA Energy Fair in Custer, WI where he was giving a talk on Cordwood. He seemed like a good guy. Later, when Wayne Weiesman suggested using cordwood to build the chapel we were discussing, Richard’s name came up again. Well, when it came time to run a cordwood workshop to begin the chapel construction, Kristine called upon Richard to teach it. Since then, Richard and Becky have taught 12 workshops at Kinstone! Richard himself put in the first mortar and log ends in the chapel and he was there to put the last ones in as well. He rolled along with the idea of using cobwood when we started the Dragon’s Keep, but was likely pleased when Kristine scrapped that idea and switched to traditional cordwood for that build as well. The sauna workshops included his 2-day basic post and beam building workshop as well. That building went up so quickly and smoothly it was amazing. So many students have attended these workshops, learned all aspects of building with cordwood and got their hands and hearts into the building of the cordwood structures at Kinstone. These buildings are not just shelters, they are communal works of art. Richard and Becky are so good at this that a large portion of the students that have come to these workshops have gone on to create their own cordwood structures!  Kristine may not be actively building with cordwood now, but if it should come up again in the future, Richard and Becky will be right there to lead the efforts.

Kenny & Darlene Frie are a retired couple from rural Arcadia, WI with a magical gift for working with metal. Kristine first met them in 2013 when the chapel was completed. Kenny had been commissioned by Jim Kampa to create some custom metal components for the chapel construction. Kenny made the collar tie at the top that holds all the pine pole rafters in place. He also made the tension ring and associated tension rods that radiate out from the walls at ceiling level. When Kristine was gifted a 180lb piece of Petrified Wood to be placed in the chapel, she called on Kenny and Darlene to help. After a few design sessions they created a beautiful cylindrical center pedestal with a hexagonal top and six points at the base. They also worked with Kristine to design “flames” to hold the centerpiece stone in place. These flames were designed based on the quilted flames that Sara Gabrick made on the “fire” elemental curtains in the Education Center. (Fun fact: The first flame he made was not quite right and it ended up being the fire coming from the fire-breathing dragon’s mouth on the outside wall of the Dragon’s Keep!).

Thea Alvin & Michael Clookey designs and led the creation of The Three Witnesses sculpture at Kinstone in October 2014. Together they taught a dry-stacked stone wall building workshop where 12 of us worked for 10 days to create this amazing artwork. Thea Alvin designed the sculpture with input from Kristine who was set on having megaliths integrated in the walls and also at least one of Thea’s signature gravity defying circular windows. The limestone building stone and the megalithic columns and center table were all found and sourced by Kristine. Thea and Michael have become legendary here as they are named, acknowledged, honored and remembered during nearly every tour and talk.

Greg Zahn has been a long time friend and supporter of Kinstone. He has taken several courses and workshops here, has volunteered many hours and donated hundreds of trees. He spent many hours cordwooding in the Chapel – including doing the intricate designs of the wood and quartz mandalas in the doorway. An architect by trade, Greg created the basic design of the stained glass windows in the Chapel of Creation and spent time with Kristine brainstorming about ways to put a cover (roof) on the Dragon’s Keep. Always upbeat and smiling, he has become part of this place and his name comes up in the story during every Chapel tour.

History

A Brief History of Kinstone

An Aerial View of Kinstone Circle and Pond Soon After Construction

An aerial view of Kinstone Circle and Kinstone Pond soon after construction

Kinstone was founded in 2011 by Kristine Beck upon the Wisconsin farmland where she grew up. This land has been in Kristine’s family for 4 generations and there are deep roots here. Her family had farmed it with hay/corn/oats fields on top of the ridge and using the steeper, lower areas and the woods to pasture young cattle. She bought the land in 1994 and let it rest until she started planning in 2010 and brought the first stones here in 2011.  The idea of Kinstone originated as a personal place, a “place to be”. Kristine went off to work as most of us do but then, around her 48th year, decided to come back to the land. She wanted to build a stone circle and create a peaceful sanctuary for herself to retreat to. Having visited many stone places in the world, she felt compelled t