Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

Gracias Madre opening in West Hollywood

Gracias Madre  is one of our biggest customers. In the growing season they even feature our company name on their menu. They prepare our cactus in a number of ways in vegan Mexican recipes in their San Francisco restaurant using organic ingredients.
Well, now my L.A. peeps, YOU can visit Gracias Madre in West Hollywood. They are opening a new restaurant at 8905 Melrose Ave in West Hollywood. This is  a prime location only a couple of blocks between Santa Monica Blvd and San Vicente Blvd.

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It looks like they’ll be opening in a month. Do stop in and meet the people, they are awesome and nice folks who run their restaurant along ethical lines. They are super-good to us, one of their suppliers. They understand when we have ‘issues’ with production, and even though we have to stop all sales to them in wintertime, for four years now they’ve always added our cactus to their menu when our production ramps up again in May.
We hope we’ll be able to sell them cactus for the Hollywood restaurant also… we should have good production come May as long as we get some rain again and have good groundwater. Yes, even our cactus requires irrigation. But the fences are holding, the gophers are minimal, the diabrotica, ants and snails are under some control and we’re current on all permits and fees. So (fingers crossed) we expect a large and abundant harvest once May comes along. We always shoot for Cinco-de-Mayo… but last year was early and lasted late… this spring I expect to be harvesting by mid April.

Explore and USE your talents


I’ve met some people with some awesome talents.
It seems to me everyone is given a bucket at birth… and talents are dumped into it.
Everyone can only fit ‘so-much’ into that bucket.
Mister Bojangles was given a talent for dance but the spigot did not dispense some other ingredients that might make him prosper.
So he danced, because his bucket held more dance than anyone elses.
Everyone has talents and can develop skills.
‘Application’ is the watchword.

Tao 20
Discard relentless learning,
and put an end to the anxiety in your harried mind.
It is to the advantage of most that they can enjoy the feast,
and celebrate in the terraced parks in the springtime.
I alone seem tranquil and still amidst the smiling revelers.
I am as expressionless as an infant before it learns to smile.
I do not know the minds of other people,
My mind is that of a fool, muddied and cloudy.
I am alone, with no true home.
Other people have enough and to spare,
I alone seem to have lost everything.
Other people enjoy all they need and more,
I alone have left everything behind.
Other people appear bright;
I alone seem wrapped in darkness.
Other people seem razor-sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other people are lucid,
I alone am obscure.
Everyone seems to know everything,
I alone have no knowledge.
I am like a wave on the ocean;
blowing as aimlessly as the wind, with no place to rest.
Others have purpose, taste and a sphere of action:
I alone am purposeless, unrefined and uncentered.
I do not share the fears of the people,
For creation nourishes me.

Without proper application of talents and skills in the greater-marketplace of ideas and commerce,
even a well-tuned wheel is useless.
It is like a wheel being pushed about by the winds on the prairie…..
bouncing into obstructions and following ruts until the wind stops and it falls over.
Attach your wheel to an engine and power it.
direct the course of your life….
Avoid obstructions and steer around the ruts and sand-blows.
YOU control the course…. but only if you yourself choose to do so.
If you let go the rudder you will surely go off-course.

Starry Starry Night

I recall reading the paper about a centegenarian in France. She’d met Van Gogh when she was a child and recalls she shrank from the scary drunken and smelly man.
I love his colors. Deep and vibrant as can be. No pussy-footing around for Vincent.
This is one of the most touching tributes to an artist I have ever come across.
Why is the human mind so split?
We all carry sparks of madness and creativity blended together… homogenized to fit society.
With some people the blending didn’t work…. their elements separated…. and depending on the relative weights and the level of the spigot opened, we get madness or creativity unmixed, full, unbridled….. unavoidable and uncomfortable.
Luckily Vincent put his creativity on canvass so we may all marvel and know we ALL have similar talents hidden deep inside. Sadly the people of his village had to live with the madness…. his tortured family, and his sad mad mind took the brunt.
And we are all the richer for his madness and pain.


~Don McLean~

Starry starry night
paint your palette blue and grey

look out on a summers day
with eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills sketch the trees and the daffodils
catch the breeze and the winter chills
in colors on the snowy linen land.

And now I understand what you tried to say to me
and how you suffered for your sanity
and how you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how
perhaps they’ll listen now.

Starry starry night
flaming flowers that brightly blaze
swirling clouds in violet haze reflect in
Vincent’s eyes of China blue.
Colors changing hue
morning fields of amber grain
weathered faces lined in pain
are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand.

And now I understand what you tried to say to me
and how you suffered for your sanity
and how you tried to set them free
they would not listen, they did not know how
perhaps they’ll listen now
For they could not love you
but still your love was true
and when no hope was left in sight
on that starry starry night.
You took your life as lovers often do;
But I could have told you Vincent
this world was never meant for one
as beautiful as you.

Starry starry night
portraits hung in empty halls
frameless heads on nameless walls
with eyes that watch the world and can’t forget.
Like the stranger that you’ve met
the ragged men in ragged clothes

the silver thorn of bloody rose
lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.
And now I think I know what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they’re not listening still
perhaps they never will.

On dirt roads

‘The Dirt Road Poem’
~By Paul Harvey~

What’s mainly wrong with society today is that too many Dirt Roads have been paved.
There’s not a problem in America today, crime, drugs, education, divorce,
delinquency that wouldn’t be remedied, if we just had more Dirt Roads, because Dirt Roads give character.
People that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride.
That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it,
if at the end is home…a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog.

We wouldn’t have near the trouble with our educational system if our kids got their exercise
walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along.
There was less crime in our streets before they were paved.
Criminals didn’t walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they knew they’d be welcomed
by 5 barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun.
And there were no drive-by shootings.

Our values were better when our roads were worse!
People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and motorists were more courteous,
they didn’t tailgate by riding the bumper or the guy in front would choke you with dust
& bust your windshield with rocks.
Dirt Roads taught patience.
Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly,
you didn’t hop in your car for a quart of milk you walked to the barn for your milk.
For your mail, you walked to the mail box.

What if it rained and the Dirt Road got washed out?
That was the best part, then you stayed home and had some family time,
roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony rode on Daddy’s shoulders
and learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap.
Most paved roads lead to trouble, Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole.
At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August,
because if we didn’t some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.

At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime income,
from when city dudes would get stuck, you’d have to hitch up a team and pull them out.
Usually you got a dollar…always you got a new friend…
at the end of a Dirt Road!

~by Paul Harvey~

Just students.


A friend of mine passed on last year.

This is one of the last e-mails she sent me.

Everyone touches others in their lives.

I pray that the touching I’ve done to others was always meant well and caused no harm.

This life might well be a training course…. a classroom to learn how to really live.

We are all just students…. and we learn from watching others, and from trying to rectify our mistakes.

How much better not to have to write on the chalkboard. Live right as you can manage.

And we can all do much better than we think is likely.

Gott sei dank.


My mom passed in Nov a year ago and a great a best cousin friend a couple yrs ago. I’ve been seeing them alot the past 3 wks, at first I woke terrified because For some reason I wasn’t ready to go. I’m truly ok with it now, I think I’ve seen everyone that “still need to share or have me share some lasting thing with me.” Mom and cousin are pretty much daily and continue to smile encouragingly at me. Sometimes I tell my sister X and X (redacted) these things but they don’t get it. I’ve done everything that can be done to make their transition better. All my papework is done along with my paying for cremation early and even did my own obit, nothing is left in my name now. How much more can I do. Hospice called couple weeks ago and wanted to know if I’d like to talk to a spiritual counselor, I said sure if he doesn’t talk “religion.”. What a great guy he is. After we chatted a bit and I told him some things about myself and my firmly planted belief in God, he said I was more ready than he could imagine. I am right with God and have accepted it all, now i’m just waiting and wishing I didn’t have to say goodbye to another person…. that is the worst part of this whole thing.

It surely has been a pleasure knowing you this little bit. Of course I’ll recognize and hug you when you get there, just don’t be in a shirt and tie love you bunches

Gift Economy, a noble idea

A ‘Gift Economy’ would be nice.

But human nature is something one must prepare for. For some folks don’t care so much about giving, but would rather take…. and that ruins the whole ‘gift economy’ idea.

Food Safety

Food Safety is an important issue, and the United States has had some of the safest foods in terms of microbial contamination.

But occasional outbreaks of food-borne illness strike fear into the electorate, and as a people we have demanded that our food be ‘made safe’.

The response was a push by industry to implement ‘third-party’ testing of farms and their harvest/post harvest practices. There are now groups that will provide education to farm workers and management to prepare them to successfully pass third party food-safety accreditation. The government has gotten involved and is now pushing small farms to become involved. While this will raise costs for growers, it will also result in farms being able to more easily recognize where some of their practices fall short of modern safety standards. This will allow them the opportunity to find some methods that carry less risk by changing some of their practices.

Here’s a video that describes some of this idea:

Cornell University has compiled  a large amount of Food Safety training materials that the grower and packing house manager can access to help with implementation of a GAP compliant program.


North Carolina has a good video on GAPS

Top Pet Toxins of 2012

Top Pet Toxins of 2012

From the ASPCA

SuperSize Your Vegetables with Wood Chips & Rock Dust in Your Garden


 Most soils are missing some elements that are needed by plants….

Often a little rock dust will add the elements you need… a soil test will help know what you are missing.

Wood chips help the natural fertility of the soils is released.

John from ‘Growing your Greens’ shows a garden and the potential most soils can attain.


More than 2,800 dead pigs found in Chinese river


By Le Li, Producer, NBC News

Link to original source….


dead pigs in river in China

dead pigs in river

BEIJING — Thousands of dead pigs, a number of them diseased, were found in Shanghai’s major drinking water supply in the last two days, officials said.


According to Xinmin newspaper, 2,813 pigs were fished out of the Huangpu River, which provides drinking water for Shanghai’s 23 million people, on Sunday and Monday. When contacted for up-to-date information on the number of pigs retrieved from the river, officials referred NBC News to the local news report.


Some of the pigs were infected with porcine circovirus (PCV) virus, according to an official statement by the Shanghai Agriculture Committee. The statement posted on China’s Twitter-like social media service Weibo said that the disease would not infect humans.


A water management officer said by telephone that results of hourly water tests were normal.


“We are adding more chlorine as an action to protect water safety,” said the official who would only identified herself as Zhu.


Water pollution, usually created by fertilizer run-off, chemical spills and untreated sewage, is a big problem in China. According to Reuters, the government will invest $850 billion over the next decade to improve the water supply system.


People from the Songjiang area of Shanghai, where many of the pigs were found, said this was not the first time they had seen the carcasses floating in the river.

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

A dead pig floats in a river on the outskirts of Shanghai on Monday.


“Am I scared? I have been hearing this kind of news all the time, so I am immune,” said Songjiang resident Ma Leiying, 42, who works as a clerk at a state-owned company. “I’m sure other cities have the same problems, but the difference is the incidents have not been reported yet.”


Some expressed outrage via Weibo.


“Have we been drinking dead-pig-polluted water? We are already panicked by the polluted air now we have to worry about poisoned water too,” one user wrote.


Xinmin News, Shanghai’s most popular newspaper paper, reported that labels on some of the carcasses indicated that the animals had come from Zhejiang and Jiangshu provinces.


According to Jiaxing Daily, many pigs have died in the area in recent several months. In Zhulin village alone, there were 10,078 dead pigs in January, 8,325 in February, it reported. The newspaper added that the cause of death was down to the cramped conditions the animals were kept in.


The Associated Press reported that the surge in the dumping of dead pigs came after a police campaign to curb the illegal trade in sick pig parts.

This story was originally published on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:14 AM EDT