Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

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Fire Good

A night time fire… to celebrate.
Don’t worry about particulate matter and carbon… these are our own trees, blown down in storms… the wood is well-seasoned and dry, burning cleanly with little or no smoke… and the ashes will be spread to regenerate the ground.





Happy Earth Day

    Our neighbors put on an Earth Day Celebration. We went and were again (as usual) awestruck by the plethora of foods, fine music and great people who live in the area.   We-all don’t get together too often.. we live along a dozen miles of isolated canyon… it is usually only holidays that gets us all together.. but when we do… it’s one heck of a good time… it’s the people that make it so ;-)




Arroyo Grande Home Schooling

  Paul at homeeducatorevents.com asked me if they could plan a field trip to our farm to see how cactus is grown and harvested.. to learn a little about the soil and how to grow things… perhaps some talk on marketing, and making a living by what you know and love enough to do well… sadly we are not open to visits… our location is so remote and the steep hills leave little flat space after I filled it with cactus and gardens…. so we had to let them know it could not be arranged. But I liked their concept of educating their kids, and sharing the responsibilities of educating their children among families to plan hikes and exploratory trips…. that I wish to mention them, hoping it might gain them wider membership.

   Educating kids is more than the ‘Three R’s… education should be looked at holistically…. so kids should be learning about all aspects of life,  from an economic standpoint (woefully neglected in many US public schools) to a moral and ethical vision…. all in addition to the usual subjects.  It looks to me as if these folks are reaching for that kind of education for their kids.. and I imagine it will do nothing but good for those kids.  Rock on parents!

Amazing and awesome whale story

   I’ve seen some sights in my time… and animals and people both continually amaze me…. I don’t get out much anymore… but reading a story such as this makes me want to go to sea again!


The Whale

   A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.
    She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat.
    She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging
in her mouth.
    A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed for help
    Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to
save her was to dive in and untangle her — a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill
a rescuer.

    They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. 
    When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.  She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them.
Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

    The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.. 

May you, and all those you love, be so fortunate…
To be surrounded by people who will help you get
untangled from the things that are binding you.
And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude. 
We pass this on to you, our friend, in the same spirit.

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly,
Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably…
Never regret anything that made you smile.


    The posting above was sent to me by a WWII Marine who was in the Guadalcanal invasion along with other island campaigns in WWII. He often sends me truly inspirational e-mails… and I am happy to receive them.

    I have been watching the HBO mini-series ‘The Pacific’ chronicling the exploits of the First Marine Division…. it makes me even more thankful for the sacrifices he and other military have given in defense of our lives and freedoms…. thank you to ALL veterans out there… while we wile away the time at home,  it is the ones who fight for us that we should be thinking of, and appreciating when they come home….. carrying their shield or on it.  God Bless you all… thank you so much for your sacrifices.                                     

Avis's Tortoises

Tortoises eating cactus

Tortoises eating cactus

   Avis sent over a photo of her tortoises eating cactus we grew.
She says they really enjoy the cactus we send them.
This is one of the Grade D leaves that lived through the winter.
You can see they are thick, but still have plenty of nice goodness inside.


Mossy Bank, 2010

   This winter’s rainy-season gave us plenty of rain. Luckily it mostly came down in nice easy showers for eight months or so. I don’t think there were too many weeks in which we did not get at least a little rain.  Because of the low angle of the winter sun, some areas of north-facing creek bank deep in the canyon don’t get any sun at all for four months or so. These areas got plenty of thick moss growing along the vertical rock cliffs. It was worth taking photos of.   I also made a screensaver of these photos, you can download it for free from our screensavers page.


Happy Tortoises!


  A customer wrote us to let us know how much she and her tortoises like our cactus.

   “Thank you for the great box of cactus leaves.  Happy Tortoises!!!  These are so nice, tender, and crunchy that they will have to share with me!

   Thanks for the recipe ideas.  One of my favorites is cold, raw, cut into strips and dipped into chunky blue cheese dressing.
   I was actually able to grow several nice plants from last year, but we had the first hard freeze in 15 years, so only the ones closest to my house survived and the leaves aren’t big enough yet for hungry torts.
   I really enjoy the photos of Rivenrock on your website.  It looks like you live in paradise.”

  Thanks Patty for sharing our cactus with your torts. We’re happy you all like it… and yes, we do live in a very lovely spot :-)

Harvesting Cactus Again

  We had a fellow write us today asking when we’d be sending bulk edible cactus shipments….
By co-incidence we were just sending off our newsletter offering list members the first harvest of the season.   Yes, you too can get in on the VERY FIRST pickings of cactus this season… but only if you are a member of our newsletter list and get the info directing you to the ‘secret page’ with the order forms.

   We have the newsletter to keep people apprised of our sales activities, which is all dependant on the cactus growth. Whenever we have a new offering, we tend to share this on the newsletter. It makes it sure and simple for me.. we try to let the subject line give a quick bit of info on the main purpose of that letter. We are more active with the newsletter in the spring, when the offerings may change weekly due to repressed growth and high demand… but through the late summer and winter it is monthly at best.


   If you’re not a member of the newsletter, you could register from our site at www.rivenrock.com or from the field below  

Right now we can only offer five pound boxes of edible cactus, and only to list members.

   You can see a sample of our newsletter at http://www.nopalcactusblog.com/2009/05/16/sample-rivenrock-e-newsletter/

   As the weeks go by, we’ll add larger box sizes to the offerings. The leaves are growing well now, and we have good weather forecast which keeps growth active, so we may be able to offer list members an early offering of leaves in bulk within a month. Also, within two weeks I expect we’ll be offering the cactus in 16 lb lots.


My leopard tortoises absolutely love the cactus

We had a short time in winter that we had no cactus to sell… here’s what one new customer had to say….

“Hi Folks, last month I purchased a 5lb. box of grade “D” cactus from you for my tortoises.  They love it!…I went back to the website and it says you don’t have grade “D” at the moment.  When will you be getting it in?  I would like to order more. …My leopard tortoises absolutely love the cactus and it is imperative for their balanced diets.  Your prices are exceptional too.”   C.F.


   Luckily, we’ll have cactus available within a week… the plants are going through their re-growth and are putting out good leaves.  Sadly there’s always a month in which the supply is very low…  this is part of the reason for our newsletter.. it enables us to keep our customers informed as the the availability of cactus.   P.S. the majority of our sales are for human consumption… but it seems it is the tortoise owners who write the most expressing their happiness with our cactus…. but do know, we grow these leaves and sell them for human consumption… it just happens that they are the favored food for tortoises also.