Thursday, March 23, 2006

In which the author travels to Salisbury Plain and Easter Island

No? Would you believe Kerrville? I'd been planning a trip to Kerrville for the sole purpose of paying Natives of Texas a visit, because they propogate p. tenuiloba and p. affinis, two native species of Passiflora that I've wanted to grow amongst the other things in my yard. And these two are pretty darn rare in nursery circles, so a road trip was in order. Calista wanted to ride along, so it became a father-daughter outing.

Since we were going to be in the area, I thought we'd make a side trip to one place I'd always wanted to visit myself--Stonehenge II, a 60 percent scale model of the ancient standing stones from England, built by Al Shepperd and Doug Hill in a Texas Hill Country pasture.

I didn't tell Calista where we were going after the nursery. She didn't really notice we were traveling a different road. But the road literally comes out of the trees along a turn, and bam! there it is, looming up from the flat grassland with limestone ridges in the distance. Calista literally gasped, and demanded "What is that!?" Her enthusiasm, shall we say, was infectious. And I didn't have to talk her into getting out of the car and walking out to the site.

Not content to let standing stones lie, so to speak, Shepperd and Hill eventually branched out into other forms of reproductive stonework, such as this replica Moai from Easter Island. Two flank the Stonehenge replica, roughly 50 yards to either side.

The second Moai is wearing one of the odd hats the Easter Islanders placed atop some of the statues. With the exception of two big limestone slabs used in the Stonehenge mockup, all the creations are sculpted using steel, plaster and concrete. It's obvious the structures aren't real stone, but that doesn't diminish their impressive nature. It's a lot of fun, tucked away in the middle of nowhere. The world needs more whimsy of this sort.

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