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Three faces of Slo-town


   San Luis Obispo is the major town near us to the north.   It’s a fairly small town with two collages and the sense of a rural community. The truck/human ratio is fairly high.  Locals refer to the city and the county both as SLO (pronounced ‘slow’). We also call the city ‘San Luis’  (Lewis….. not louwee’), and another name is ‘Slo-Town’.

   San Luis Obispo has long struggled to retain its rural character…. the county is a major anti-growth county, and the city of San Luis Obispo severely restricts building in its limits.  

   There are many unique aspects to Slo-Town.. for instance in 1990, SLO became the first municipality in the world to ban smoking in all public buildings, including bars and restaurants.  There is a really unique HUGE hotel called ‘Madonna Inn’ that is something of a world-renowned hotel.  And San Luis houses one of the premier universities in the world… (Cal-Poly) California Polytechnic State University.  The first motel in the world was established in San Luis in 1925 (it cost $1.25 for a night).

   Like many towns, San Luis has architectural styles that cover a broad spectrum of styles from Frank Lloyd Wright to backyard builders….  therefor we have the simple storefront buildings, Victorian homes, and old wooden barns being used as warehouses you see in these photos.

   If you travel to California, make sure you go through the Central coast… and SLO is a good town to use as a central base for visiting the area.


Gracias Madre restaurant

Gracias Madre Restaurant
In San Francisco Features our cactus on their menu

We came upon a menu from the  fine restaurant in San Francisco called Gracias Madre.
It was a real pleasure, surprise and honor to see our name on the menu as their cactus source!
This illustrates the responsibility one has in business as a human to help others.

Thank you Gracias Madre….
we’ll work hard to make sure you continue to get high-quality cactus from us.


Gracias Madre restaurant

Gracias Madre restaurant menu

La memoria inmòvil

Fine Art black and white cactus images by French photographer Philippe Perrin. Taken in Mexican deserts. As part of the book ‘La memoria inmòvil’ that will be soon published in Mexico
info. email: photoandfashionstudio@gmail.com

Gulls in Avila

Avila gulls

Avila gulls


Gulls in Avila

The Many Faces of Pismo Beach

The Many Faces of Pismo Beach


   The modern Pismo Beach has been built up over several generations, with successive groups of folks moving in from other places.   As the town has grown, and the small amount of easily accessible and usable land already used for building… it was inevitable that building would progress higher up the hills.   These newer homes tend to be more individual in character. These steep sites with engineered slopes and retainer walls lend themselves to custom planning for the habitation itself.

   The stark geometric lines of the house below are natural extensions of the retainer walls of which the structure is well integrated with.

clean crisp lines in Pismo Beach

clean crisp lines in Pismo Beach

Steep drops in Pismo Beach
Steep drops in Pismo Beach

    Many of these homes are four levels high on the downhill side, yet the top floor is street level on the uphill side.   Such requires massive pilings several meters deep into the underlying rock.  The price of the lot is just the beginning of the costs…. but my.. what massive stunning and sweeping views of the coastline from those windows!  

   This coastline is something of a Riviera area…. the weather is mild… and the population seems to swell in the summer… in the winter it is a sleepy little town on the beach. 

Iberian style architecture in Pismo Beach

Iberian style architecture in Pismo Beach

    The first Europeans in the area were the Spanish. But they used the area only for ranching, the nearby port was a handy place to load the stacks of cowhides that were this areas major export.
    Close on the heels of the Spanish were a good number of Portuguese families who became known for fishing these local waters. They left their mark with the architecture, some local dishes, and names in the phone book.

    This home is reminiscent of some of the homes in Portugal. 

Steep hillsides in Pismo Beach

Steep hillsides in Pismo Beach

    Strong retaining walls are required in these hills. You can take a steep hillside and convert it to a series of terraces…. sometimes each with one level of a home….   There are some nice examples of steep hillside dwellings in Pismo Beach.

Door of the Morning Mist


“For that which is boundless in you
abides in the mansion of the sky,
whose door is the morning mist,
and whose windows
are the songs and the silences of night”


~Kahlil Gibran~


Mists of the forests approach the cactus


On Houses
 Kahlil Gibran


Build of your imaginings a bower in the wilderness
ere you build a house within the city walls.
For even as you have home-comings in your twilight,
so has the wanderer in you, the ever distant and alone.
Your house is your larger body.
It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night;
and it is not dreamless.
Does not your house dream?
and dreaming, leave the city for grove or hill-top?

Would that I could gather your houses into my hand,
and like a sower scatter them in forest and meadow.
Would the valleys were your streets,
and the green paths your alleys,
that you might seek one another through vineyards,
and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments.
But these things are not yet to be. 
In their fear your forefathers gathered you too near together.
And that fear shall endure a little longer.
A little longer shall your city walls
separate your hearths from your fields.
And tell me, people of Orphalese,
what have you in these houses?
And what is it you guard with fastened doors?
Have you peace,
the quiet urge that reveals your power?
Have you remembrances,
the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind?
Have you beauty,
that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain?
Tell me, have you these in your houses?
Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort,
that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest,
and then becomes a host and then a master?

Ay, and it becomes a tamer,
and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires.
Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron.
It lulls you to sleep only to stand by your bed
and jeer at the dignity of the flesh.
It makes mock of your sound senses,
and lays them in thistledown like fragile vessels.
Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul,
and then walks grinning in the funeral.

But you, children of space, you restless in rest,
you shall not be trapped nor tamed.
Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast.
It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound,
but an eyelid that guards the eye.
You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors,
nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling,
nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.
You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living.
And though of magnificence and splendour,
your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing.
For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky,
whose door is the morning mist,
and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night 




Stairway to Heaven?

Stairway to Heaven?

Harbor Patrol, Avila Beach California
Harbor Patrol, Avila Beach California

No, it’s the Harbor Patrol on the pier in Avila

Inspiration Right Now

There are many arts. Some tug at emotions, some tug at reason and intellect. Some manipulate both.
When prose and music wed to film… and when the philosopher directs the tone… what changes can happen in others?
One can watch a spider work hard and find inspiration. A surfer carving glassy waters, a gymnast or a chess master can inspire.
To do is the goal. don’t sit… do. At the end you’re more sorry about the things you didn’t try, than the things you did that didn’t work out well. Just live. And life isn’t crawling into a hole. If you can, get out and live.If you’re spinning your tires into a rut…. ease off the gas…. and get out of the car! And if your life is in the ruts… get outside if you can.  Just do something.One of the most inspirational music videos I know is ‘Right Now’ by Van Halen

‘Right Now’
~Van Halen~

Don’t wanna wait ’till tomorrow,
Why put it off another day?
One by one, little problems,
Build up, and stand in our way.
One step ahead, one step behind it,
Now ya gotta run to get even.
Make future plans, I’ll dream about yesterday.
Come on turn, turn this thing around
Right now… Hey! It’s your tomorrow
Right now… Come on, it’s everything
Right now… Catch your magic moment
Do it right here and now
It means everythingMiss a beat, you lose the rhythm
An nothin’ falls into place.
Only missed by a fraction,
Slipped a little off your pace.
The more things you get, the more you want,
Just trade in one for another.
Workin’ so hard to make it easy.
Whoa, got to turn. Come on, turn this thing around
Right now… Hey, it’s your tomorrow
Right now… Come on, it’s everything
Right now… catch that magic moment
Do it right here and now
It means everythingTell me, what are ya waitin’ for?

Low-Tide at Shell Beach

Shell Beach California…
Low Tide….
The right time.. the right place

Rocks at Shell Beach
Stone and seaweed at Shell Beach
Stone and seaweed at Shell Beach

Local Produce

Local-grown produce... all from our neighbors

Local-grown produce... all from our neighbors

   Some of us neighbors get together and exchange veggies. Even though most of us are from inside the canyon, there are many local micro-climates that favor one fruit/vegetable over another and enable that family to grow something that might be difficult for some of the other folks.
   Here’s some of the veggies we got last week. All grown by neighbors.
   The real find is those Palestine sweet limes…. they are not limey at all.. they have a very delicate flavor….. I want to grow some for myself.


Local produce grown by the neighbors
 Clockwise from High noon… avocado, tomatoes, Palestine sweet lime, squash and portobello mushrooms.


Roasting peppers

Roasting peppers

    We roasted some Anaheim peppers for supper…
first you have to remove the skin….
you roast them to boil and blister the skin…..

Scraping roasted peppers

Scraping roasted peppers

 Let them cool enough so you can handle them easily….
and the skin will then peel easily from the fruit with a butter knife.
You then have to split them open, and scrape out the seeds inside…
then chop ‘em up and set them into the bowl to finish cooking…


cactus, mushrooms and peppers in skillet
cactus, mushrooms and peppers in skillet

In the end we fried the peppers, some cactus, onions, and mushrooms all together in olive oil.
Add some spices… and you’ve got a pretty decent meal that’s really nutritious.
   Something like this is good over rice…