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.

Growing Your Own Food Is Like Printing Your Own Money!

 “Growing Your Own Food Is Like Printing Your Own Money!” ~Ron Finley

“You’d be surprised what soil can do if you let it be your canvas!” ~Ron Finley


 A TED Talk with Ron Finley, an artist who installs food gardens in South Los Angeles.
He describes how he got in trouble with the city for planting the strip between the sidewalk and street with vegetables.

John from ‘Grow Your Greens’ interviews Ron Finley at his home/garden




A cow can change things

A cow can change things:

A program like this can make a positive impact on a rural family.
Odd how we know this is true for other people, but our own government does not allow us to do this in the USA. Yes, it is true that a person cannnot (in general) really raise a cow and sell the milk legally…. to sell milk requires a great deal of governmental approval and oversight for ‘the health of the people’….. We talk of the unwillingness of Americans to work, and we’ll talk of how our own grandparents raised pigs, cows, orchards, vineyards, sold eggs and raw milk and meat from a shed where they butchered animals. But we don’t speak of how in the ‘modern agribusiness climate’ we must have a separate license and permit and training and sanitary facilities to be allowed to any of those processes. And with the ‘economy of scale’ that results from legislation, people are forced to curtail any activity that does not adequately pay for the cost of expenditures required by law. Therefor we end up with pig factories with 50,000 pigs, not  a weed or garden in sight, and the family buying their porkchops from the butcher.


after a while…

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t always mean security

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns
if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every ‘good-bye’ you learn

Veronica A.  Shoffstall

You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds

you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds

you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds


Our minds hold most of the success or failure of our lives.
Your mind can determine your attitude.
Your attitude will have almost complete control over your future.
Learn to control your mind, and you will learn to control yourself completely.
Control over one’s own life and destiny is the greatest power.