Cakehenges and Word Fields: the Plight of the Carbon-Conscious Blogger

photo from TheSugarSyndicate.com’s Flickr account
Believe it or not, we are swamped with new Stonehenge replicas of all sorts and you might think, if you were not in possession of all the facts, that we should be posting here at least a couple of times per week, if not every day. You could be forgiven for assuming we are just lazy.

But nothing could be further from the truth! What people don’t realise is that unlike other bloggers, who just use mass-produced letters and words, often imported from countries where they have been grown with pesticides by people who are paid sub-subsistence wages and who have no access to health care despite their crippling work, here at Clonehenge we personally grow every letter and every word ourselves, nurturing them with great care and at much expense.

This labour of love gives us precious little time for the fun of producing these posts for our adoring public, but because we know you are waiting breathlessly we tear ourselves away from the Palabra beanfields to craft these posts like drystone walls, turning and fitting each word and each letter until somehow they fit and balance to make the august edifice that is Clonehenge.

Today our topic is Stonehenge cakes, or cakehenges. The example above, beautifully done, was the 2007 creation of a Chicago-based bakery, The Sugar Syndicate, which is, alas, no longer a going concern. It is an outstanding example of the cakehenge genre, second only to our favourite, the mom-made cakehenge from New Zealand’s Vanda Symon.

photo by Siobhan Jess Sarrel

The confection in the pan above was posted on the Clonehenge Facebook page by reader Siobhan Jess Sarrel, about whom we know nothing, especially not how to pronounce her first name. She baked gluten-free brownies, used fondant to fashion the Stonehenge on top, and took it to a friend’s solstice party. (We do not know if Ms. Sarrel is in the northern or southern hemisphere, so we don’t know if it was a summer or winter solstice party.)

These henges have many things right with them. First, they are our preferred type–replicas of Stonehenge as it stands today. In both cases the builders looked at pictures of Stonehenge to guide their modeling. Both show the trilithon horseshoe and the three remaining adjacent lintels. Both show fallen stones.

The top cake is more accurate in scale and placement and also includes the bluestones. It is impeccable and professional looking. The brownies, on the other hand, are gluten-free.

This may not mean much to the average reader, but for us this is a huge factor. Not only are we at Clonehenge among those who are required for health reasons to eat gluten-free foods only, but it is a little-known fact that the original Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain IS IN FACT GLUTEN-FREE!!! Well caught, Lady S. J. Sarrel!

Scores? We give the Syndicate henge 7 ½ druids and Ms. Sarrel’s brownie henge a solid 7. We figure we don’t want to run afoul of any syndicate out of Chicago!

Well, it looks like we’ve just about run out of words that are developed enough to pick. We’ll have to let the fields grow a bit before we can post again. Here’s hoping the aliens don’t come by and ruin things with crop circles!

If you’re still hungry for cakehenges, find more here. And until next time, happy henging!

P.S.: What the hell is fondant, anyway? Yes, we know we could google it but the truth is we’re far too lazy. Oops.

Jellyhenge: Why Shouldn’t Stonehenge Be Red, Transparent, and Edible?!

photo by Dan French, used with permission (at least until he reads this)

This henge was presented to us by Dan French. We assume he or someone he knows created it, but who knows? The man does not seem to be trustworthy. For one thing, he gives his name as Dan French, but–get this–he IS NOT ACTUALLY FRENCH!!!1!! Like we wouldn’t notice that!

Also, he is a Bruce Springsteen fan. From Baldock, Hertfordshire. Does that seem right to you? Baldock, we happen to know (because we just read it on Wikipedia) was founded by THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR!!!!1!(one)! and was the site of a leper colony in medieval times. How are lepers and the Knights Templar connected with Bruce Springsteen? And jelly? (We will again take up the topic of Baldock in a future post!)

Whew! There. Two solid informational paragraphs–and at first we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to write anything thoughtful about this henge. Pshaw. This is why we are the best Stonehenge replica blog going!

Which reminds us, what about the Stonehenge replica? We do love our Gentle Readers but they constantly work to get us off topic, as if we were an eccentric secondary school physics teacher. What we have here, Class, appears to be four outer trilithons and two inner trilithons. A little short of the real thing, but we have to take into account the superior materials. This is the henge the ancients wanted to build, but they didn’t have the advantage of modern gelatin technology.

Mr. “French” (Lestat?) claims the outer trilithons are raspberry and the inner are blueberry, cleverly giving a nod to the bluestones. But we all know how dependable he is. This could well be the ultimate blood sacrifice henge, with the blood incorporated directly into the megaliths!!

Not to get off the subject (heh), but have you seen this srsly awesome slow motion video of jelly (or Jello or Jell-O) cubes being dropped onto a hard surface? We do not use or advocate drugs, but if you are already smoked up or tripping, you will have a distinct advantage in enjoying this. And for the jelly-shot types, did you know that if you make them with Bacardi 151, they are so strong that they can kill you, but they can also be lit on fire?! DO NOT try this at home, especially if you have a couple of them first, even though that IS when you’re likely to be tempted!

What’s that you say? Henge? Oh, right. Let us address the score. The stone shapes are not right. There is no continuous linteling on the outer circle. The inner trilithons are not higher than the outer and there aren’t enough of them. No outliers or altar stone, no Aubrey holes… The list goes on and on.  But–it IS clear and wobbly. Think of the sunrise shining through this one, people! Think of the rare lichens. (?) We have carelessly given decent scores to much worse replicas than this.

Score: 6 druids! Congratulations, Mr. “Dan French”, but we’re still onto you. Millions of people would do anything to penetrate the prestigious world of Stonehenge replicas, including assuming false identities. Our nanotechnological insects are seeking you out as we speak. This isn’t our last post concerning you, sir!

To all of the rest of our Gentle Readers, know the chapter on vectors by Thursday. And until then, happy henging!

Cheesehenge, For the Sake of the Land!

photos from Laura Mousseau, used with permission

Well, after a long pause, which of course you know was caused by a freak double computer calamity because you follow us on Twitter, we are back with this excellent cheesehenge which you have of course already seen because it was our Friday foodhenge on Twitter back on March 5!

Laura Mousseau tells us, “Cheesehenge was created by Mark Stabb for a Nature Conservancy of Canada Ontario staff retreat (if you could link to the Nature Conservancy site for Ontario somehow it would be much appreciated!)” I suppose we could — [link]!. We’re, like, all in favour of the, you know, earth an’ s**t!

This is a particularly good cheesehenge. Observe tthe guacamole ground representing Salisbury Plain, inner trilithons that appear to be taller than the sarsens in the outer ring, and–la pièce de résistance–the careful placement of the inner trilithon horseshoe facing the the uprights with the three adjacent remaining lintels. Some observation definitely went into this, although we would not go so far as to say as someone does on the video (Oh, yes!) that it is archaeologically correct.

Cheesehenges, as we have said before, are among the commonest of henges, probably because cheese is capable of being cut into rectangular shapes and, of course, it is often served with alcoholic beverages, some of which appear to  have Stonehenge-generating properties. We have posted two cheesehenges before this. See here and here.

Score: 7 druids! If that seems high to you, you should know that we give extra consideration to treehuggers. It seems likely that the land was what it was all about back in the days of the original builders of Stonehenge, as well as over a millennium later in the days of the druids. Even today we all depend on it. Good to remember, people!

So kudos, Mr. Mark Stabb! Nicely done. The only problem here is all those people singing “dooooo” at the beginning of the video. Perhaps goofiness, in the end, is what makes the world go round. We sure hope so!

Until next time, whenever that is, happy henging!

Pastels, Peeps, Bunnies, and Violent Death–It Has to Be Spring!

photos from the PeepHenge page of Lord of the Peeps

In the northern hemisphere it is Spring. And where there are those who celebrate, this Sunday is Easter. In our opinion, this is the ultimate Spring and Easter or Eostre, or Spring Festivus henge! Look, it even has bluestones!

And amazingly even that 3 lintel section that still stands today at the real Stonehenge, with the trilithon horseshoe oriented toward it . These people looked at Stonehenge before they built their, well, madcap? zany? crazy-ass? henge. And druids are included, of course. Ish.

But the best thing is the sacrificial slaying, of course. A ghost/druid is posed in the act of ritually slaying a marshmallow snowman (symbolising Winter?) on a yellow bunny altar stone. Violent death never tasted so good! (We would see to it that the victim and perpetrator ended up on a funeral pyre–just until they were toasty brown and a little runny!).  Oh, murder most foul!

We haven’t said much about Lord of the Peeps. This is because you wouldn’t believe us if we told you that someone has done Lord of the Rings with marshmallow animals. Would you? No, we didn’t think so.

Score: 7½ druids. This is a great foodhenge! It has some accuracy, a sense of humour and some downright, almost worrying, craziness. That, folks, is what we like!

Happy Spring, Eostre, Easter, spring bird migration or whatever you celebrate this time of year! Enjoy it, but watch out for ghosts with toothpicks!

Happy henging!

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Ginger Henge, a Druid Hut, and Some Holiday Disorientation Disorder!

photo sent in by Emily Hunziker, used with permission

And here is the second in our two part Hunziker series of henges! Yes, we know it’s Spring Equinox-ish/Easter/Eostre, and we’ll address that in our next post, but for now let us cast our minds back to three months and a week ago . . .

Ms. Hunziker writes: “The gingerbread henge came about this christmas time, when, for purposes of saving time, my family and our friend decided to combine our ginger bread house and winter solstice henge projects into one. We modeled our henge strictly off of stonehenge, making sure that there was even an alter stone and heel stone.

You can see care was taken and Stonehenge was the model. Look at those bluestones, so rarely included in an amateur henge!

Then, “We connected our christmasy gingerbread village with this henge by having the the Druids live in a hut right next door.” That hut is the little roundhouse in the picture on the left. Well done, we must say!

And she finishes with, “Our friends and neighbors who come by appreciate the time and creativity we put into our projects but as we explain to them the ideas behind them (such as dolls made specifically to preform a “virgin sacrifice” that goes along with a henge made out of fish sticks or gingerbread) they smile, nod their heads, and back away slowly making no sudden movements.

Well, that’s just a wise way to behave around hengers. Don’t trigger their chase response!

Score: 7 druids! They even have a place to live. We like this little set-up even if it is oddly horseshoe shaped over all. Having it open toward the viewer gives it a welcoming feel, not quite what the original Stonehenge builders were going for, but charming in its own right.

And at the end of the email she says, “lol. What can we say, we love it. Happy Henging!” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

Our thanks to Emily, Lauren, Russ and Eliza Hunziker and Lois Sisco for making this henge! Keep ’em coming!

Fish Finger/Tater Tot Henge

photo from Emily Hunzicker, used with permission

Yes, a foodhenge. We tweet foodhenge links on most Fridays, but haven’t been posting many here on the blog lately. We are about to remedy that, as we have at least three foodhenges lined up to post in the near future. First we’ll go for the greasy fried version, with sarsens of fish fingers (or fish sticks Stateside), and bluestones represented by tater tots (Is there a British term for these? Oven crunchies?). This foodhenge isn’t actually for eating, is it?

Emily Hunziker tells us the story of its origins:

Well, My family (Russ and Elisa Hunziker) and our friend (Lois Sisco) were thinking of some way to celebrate the summer solstice last year, and what better way to do so than with a henge! We figured fish sticks and tater tots were an appropriate size and shape to replicate a henge which we could eat for dinner afterwards. The sticks and tots are bedded in mash potatoes for support and not pictured was the Salisbury ‘plain’ Steaks which were the main course.

Regular readers will have guessed it–it is those Salisbury “Plain” steaks that truly won us over. Bad punz–we likes dem! And knowing that Stonehenge is on Salisbury Plain is a plus–after all, the people mentioned are in L.A.

We realise that an inner circle of four trilithons isn’t exactly right and it is odd to include the blue stones inside the outer circle and not those in the inner horseshoe. We’d have loved it if the mashed potatoes had been dyed green. But let’s have a look at a subtler good point–those Aubrey holes (-ish!) built in to the plate. Nicely chosen!

Emily dutifully passes this on: “My mother, who is quite opposed to eating such ‘cafeteria like’ foods, wanted me to mention the fact that, although they make excellent henge replicating material, tater tots, fish sticks, mash potatoes and steak gave us all heart burn.” Duly noted, Emily’s mom!

But the truly worrying part comes next. “Following dinner, there was a virgin (doll) sacrifice, in which a chocolate heart was cut from her chest and eaten to appease the gods.” Hmmm . . . sounds very Aztec to us, especially if the chocolate heart was still beating!

Yes, we know there is no proof that human sacrifice took place at Stonehenge. But we allow for a certain amount of playful poetic license on that matter, as with the PeepHenge we have linked to before (and which may soon have a post of its own because we love it so much!).

Score for this henge: 5½ druids! But this is not the end of Emily’s contributions. We shall hear from her again. The Hunzikers of Los Angeles seem to have a penchant for playing with their food–and we certainly approve!

So to all, we hope you had a lovely equinox celebration. Enjoy the long awaited Spring, and happy henging!

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Icing Henge–Perhaps the Ultimate Stonehenge Cake!

photo and cake by Vanda Symon, with permission

It doesn’t often happen that a homemade henge turns up in our inbox unsolicited, although we love when it does. You can imagine how delighted we were to receive an email from summery New Zealand with this beautifully crafted cake in it.

Made by mystery author Vanda Symon for the eighth birthday of one of her sons, this cake shows a remarkable degree of realism, from the proportions of the individual stones to the  trilithon horseshoe facing the three intact lintels in a row, to the placement of the fallen stones. Very nicely done!

We asked why make a Stonehenge cake for an eight-year-old’s party, and Ms. Symon replied, “The now Eight-Year-Old has always liked things that are old, mysterious and cool – so he wanted a wonders of the world party and the birthday party cake was going to be a pyramid or Stonehenge. We’d discussed a big gingerbread pyramid, but that wasn’t “cakey” enough, so he thought Stonehenge would be great because it’s essentially round, and hey, a cake is often round. Practical boy. I’m grateful he didn’t ask for the Colosseum!

And so are we! Score for this cake, 8 druids, one for each of the birthday boy’s years, and our highest ever for a cake!

Ms. Symon goes on to say, “The cake was a big hit with the birthday guests, and the whole thing disappeared at the party, so Hubby didn’t even get a piece! There was also one of those surreal moments where all of the little guests were happily nibbling away on icing henges, ten kids eating things that looked like big rocks. Naturally they were beautifully sugared up in time for their parents to come and collect them.

And on her blog she adds, “Damn chuffed with it, actually.  Amazing what you can do with icing.

True, though it wouldn’t hold up for thousands of years in the British weather. Sigh–now we’re all hungry!

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A Little Stonehenge, a Cucumber, and Eleven

photos by Somara aka snarkygurl, with permission

[Strictly speaking this is not a Stonehenge replica, but a replica of a Stonehenge replica. The rare clonehenge clone!]

What a movie! What a cake! The movie This Is Spinäl Tap made the Stonehenge replica a household idea. We’ve often wondered what percentage of the 250 and counting posts we’ve put up would be here if it weren’t for Spinal Tap. Well, there is no doubt about today’s entry!

The baker/artist and photographer writes: “A friend of ours wanted to surprise her husband with a Spinal Tap cake for his birthday. She didn’t care what it looked like, so I had free reign to do what I wanted. I like it, other than the part where I accidentally made the strap too long, and where I lost the wrestling match with the white frosting.

Well, we think she did an excellent job. Even got that cucumber-wrapped-in-tinfoil in there although much reduced in size!

And, speaking of reduced in size, our focus is, of course, the little Stonehenge replica, a trilithon, actually. We like the way the colouring on it is marbled to make it look like stone. It is very nicely done. Plus, it looks delicious. We hope it was.

Please note that the dials on the amp do say 11. That’s one higher! By the way, you can see our other posts concerning Spinal Tap here and here.

Score: 5 druids. It’s not much smaller than the one in the movie, after all. And we’re guessing Somara had a lot less money to work with. It’s not easy to get this kind of likeness in an edible replica. Nicely done!

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A Cakehenge for Morris Dancers

photos by Cricket Holman, used with the permission of Greenwood Morris

Out upon the green plain, wild horses galloped and played. If they noticed the huge lichen-encrusted stones that huddled in an ageless circle there, it was only to rub their shoulders or haunches now and then or to play hide-and-seek with those small colts still unable to run far. They took no interest, either, in the line of posts or strange piles of sweet white goo distributed about the area.

Hmm . . . it’s hard to make that work! We’re not sure why the horses, why the odd asymmetrical candle line or what the (possibly marshmallow) lumps are that are scattered about this cake. And then there’s that thing in the upper left hand corner. Many mysteries.

We do know this cake was made for a birthday party in November, 2008, a party attended by members of Greenwood Morris, a Morris Dance team out of Gainesville, Florida. More photos of the party may be seen here.

Score: a modest 5 druids. Tis is a rather simple henge, appropriate for the occasion. You don’t have to do anything elaborate in order to enjoy a henge at your next family, social or business occasion. Let henging in and watch your quality of life soar!. And absolutely no calories (as long as you don’t eat it).

[Cyndi Moncrief adds in an email: BTW, the marshmallow thingys on the cake are “Blancmanges”, made famous by the Monty Python skit of the same name.]

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Happy Birthday to Clonehenge: Some Favourite Small Henges

cupcakes and photo by tokyopop, with permission

Clonehenge is one year old today. Happy birthday to us! To celebrate we will list a few of our favourite smaller and/or temporary henges, starting with the celebratory cupcakes above, which we posted back in March. Have one, gentle reader!

Another henge we liked was this cell phonehenge, a creation of the great henging enthusiast Simon W. Burrow. We would have to check, but this may be the only small henge that got 8½ druids. Unfortunately it seems that his photos and brilliant captions for this are no longer on Flickr.

Next we have to put a mention in for the smallest henge, a nanohenge made in Singapore by scientists testing a silicon micromachining process. They made a Stonehenge replica–what else?!

That was one of the first ones we posted–November 24, 2008. Seems like eons ago. It was only a few months ago, in August, that we posted the mosaic fruit jelly henge on the occasion of our 200th post. Made by The Cookie Shop, a blogger in Brazil, it has to be the most colourful and attractive to the eye of all the mini-Stonehenges we posted. Yes, it’s just trilithons, but it’s candy for the eye.

Foodhenges have been among our favourites all along. Certainly baconhenge has been popular with readers. Carol Squires, its creator, and Carin Huber, who first blogged it have made a contribution to the visibility of henging, especially home food henging, on the web. It is among the best known of online henges.

And we can’t forget the Lego Doctor Who! What a great, strange, and twisted concept! The good Doctor encounters the Secret of Stonehenge, courtesy of thegreattotemaster, up there in chilly Iceland.

There are many other great and odd henges to choose from– tamponhenge, packing foamhenge, the charming fairy Stonehenge, and the well-sculpted butterhenge. But our number one temporary homemade henge is Clark Perks amazing full-size Stonehenge replica made of wooden frames covered with plastic garbage bags, built in just a few days at Bennington College in Vermont. The page he wrote about it is worth a click and read. In a way it embodies the spirit of Clonehenge!

And sadly we’ve found many excellent Stonehenge replicas that we haven’t been able to bring to you because we didn’t get photo permissions. Some, like Clotheshenge, were so good that we posted links, but for the most part we just let them lurk on the web for you to stumble upon one day and think of us.

For now, we’re thinking that a year is enough to dedicate to something like this. We will still post when something comes up and we certainly plan to judge and post the Clonehenge contest entries, but we plan to take a break from the long hours of searching for new things to post. We think we’ve made our point–people everywhere are making Stonehenge replicas out of everything.

Why? Maybe someday someone will do a graduate thesis on that and use Clonehenge as a resource. We hope so. People just laugh and shrug it off, but we think there’s something going on here that bears examining.

That said, we’ll part with links to a few nice replicas. First one of the best of the virtual 3-D Stonehenges, a small replica at a small school (scroll down), a toothpaste henge with ghost table cloth, and a smallish Australian gardenhenge that is great and somehow very funny at the same time. It’s the pansies that do it!

There are loads more out there. We’ll still post when someone send a good one in or when we hear of one we think bears mentioning, for example if Ross Smith in Australia ever releases photos of the one he was threatening to make. So let’s toast to a year of Stonehenge replicas. How about some Dom Perignon, Clonehenge-style? Cheers!

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