Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

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What the Pros Use

   An uncle of mine often liked to mention that the work we did was like ‘the Big-boys Downtown’… meaning ‘The Pros’.  A professional has to have the right stuff to do work…. with inadequate equipment you start the game at a disadvantage.. but in the marketplace of work, there is no handicap given to those with inadequate machinery or smarts.

   We do a HUGE amount of weed whacking…. I used to wear-out one weedwacker every year… mainly because the underpowered homeowner models I was buying yearly could not live through the rough use in the wilderness to which I subjected them…. and I was often frustrated by the inability of my machines to cut through the brush and heavy weeds we have…..

   A contractor friend from whom we bought our tractor told me that I should see what the professional weed-trimming crews use for weedwackers.  The pros would buy the best machine for the price… but always a machine that would stand up to the wear-and-tear of several different users and a variety of tasks… at the time the local fellows were mainly using Shindaiwa…. so I went to see what the local Shindaiwa dealer could offer….

   I almost fell over when they showed me a weedwacker priced at nearly $500! OMG, that’s five years worth of weed wackers for me! “But”, they said, “You will only need one, not five”.  With a sinking heart, I paid for the machine…. and went home to have the best and easiest weedwacking I’d ever done.  And now, ten years later, I am still using the same weed wacker…. and when I work, I can get through the brush much better than any other hand-held machine I have ever used.

   Now, wear-and-tear and time will make even a Shindaiwa old(er).  I have to buy a new fuel-pickup every year… I change the spark-plug every few years, and I have to change the fuel tank every five years or so.  This year, on occasion of the ten year anniversary of the trimmer, I bought for it not only a new fuel tank, but a complete new muffler with spark arrestor, and several new rubber parts that have deteriorated a bit over the years.   True, the sum total of these replacement parts is what a small underpowered and cheap weedwacker costs…. but this trimmer is worth it!


Shindaiwa C-35 Weedwacker
Shindaiwa C-35 Weedwacker

This is the engine-end of our Shindaiwa C-35 string trimmer. It has a new muffler and shroud, a new fuel tank and a few new rubber parts.

Totally Great Customer Endorsement

    We are super-lucky having the great customers and associates we do have. We provide a (usually) very high quality product that we’re really proud of.

   Many of our customers send us comments letting us know what they think of our cactus. With only a few exceptions (everyone has those I suppose) we have VERY high remarks from customers as to our quality.

    We have a  customer in Texas (a place where they KNOW cactus) who has been getting our monthly subscription service (that gives a monthly five pound box of cactus) for some time.  Recently he decided that he needed to get his cactus more often than once a month… so he’s signed up for a second monthly subscription set to a half month afterwards…. that way he will get a five pound box of cactus every two weeks.  He had some comments about our cactus that I thought was so positive I needed to use it for a testimonial. I wrote and asked if I may use his words and name… he wrote me back with affirmation. You can read both here….

“I use the cactus for my two leopard tortoises.
I give them 2-3 leaves every day.
I hate when I run out and have to buy some at the grocery store.
The difference in quality is quite drastic.
Keep up the good work!!!!!”

And the affirmation…

“You can use my comments / endorsement however you want.
It’s SOOOO true.
Whenever your package arrives the first thing I do is throw away
whatever cactus I bought at the grocery store to make room for yours.
I almost feel guilty feeding my tortoises some of the substandard local stuff
I’m forced to resort to – since I’m sure they’re “hooked” on yours.”

Mark M.

   Thanks for being a great customer Mark!



For Miners only


Big tires being loaded up for a local mine’s earth-moving machinery.
At Wayne’s Tires in Santa Maria

We’ve used Wayne’s for years now. I used to do a LOT of driving, and was often getting tires.
Wayne’s has always been a place I liked and felt I got a decent deal.

Cactus by the Pallet

Cactus by the Pallet


half a ton of cactus

half a ton of cactus

This is a thousand pound load of freshly harvested edible nopal cactus
all set on the dock waiting for the shrink-wrap.
We ship by Fed Ex, UPS and USPS depending on location,
quantity, and the customer’s wishes.



Old Yeller House

An old article I wrote a couple of years ago…
the yellow house is still sitting vacant
as far as I can tell

April 14, 2007
The Big Yellow House

An Empty House Remembers
~Russell Collier~

The empty house around me ticks and creaks,
A moody end to evening’s gentle rains,
A brooding quiet as the daylight wanes,
The secret language empty houses speak.

What stories might this house preserve entire
In rhythmic code composed of click and groan?
Does House recall a sadness with each moan?
Is laughter stored in every plank and wire?

And how might I, a fleeting visitor,
Acquire an ear for stories trapped in time,
And wrap a tale or two in words and rhyme?
How can I tap the House’s secret lore?

In silence soft the house slips off to sleep.
Alone I sit, in darkness vast and deep.


Old Yeller House in Santa Barbara

Old Yeller House in Santa Barbara


   ‘The Big Yellow House‘ is an easily noticed big yeller house on the side of the highway 101 just south of Santa Barbara. It was a fine dining establishment. I’ve never eaten there, but always seemed to notice it when I passed, I suppose it’d be hard not to notice a big yeller house on the side of the road.
   The Big Yellow House has now closed it’s doors, this huge bastion of family style dining is no more, and many people are saddened to see this old friend locked up. But the foundation and structure are still there, the old beams support the floors without complaint, and the interior plaster and paint sit quietly, waiting for the pitter-patter of tiny feet, the delighted shrieks of laughter and the clatter of silverware and the clanking of celebratory glasses being raised. Yes, this old house knows that someone will come along and fill it with warmth and family, and it will again host monumental parties and celebrations.
   The house is ever patient, it sits, gazing with it’s hollow eyes out over the azure pacific, the Riviera of California as it patiently awaits new people to shelter,   and a new business with caring considerate owners to build up.

California Climate Change Policy Leaves Out Agriculture

An article I came upon… California Climate Change Policy Leaves Out Agriculture

   It is this kind of issue the Regional Water Quality control board wishes to address with the newly-required ‘Regenerative Agriculture’ classes for all commercial produce growers in California. But they go about it the wrong way. The classes should be given for free to licensed growers… not enforced onto us at our own travel and expense.  The water testing is another thing that should be shared across the board. If this is for the good of the planet, whey are we the ones to bear the cost?  And there is little (seems to me nothing) to help the very small scale grower, nor any consideration given to those who are already doing some or many of the actions they desire…. Instead, like nearly any governmental program, all are lumped together, and all herded through the same door into the same classes. So we who have run on a deficit for the last few years are paying nearly the same as the super huge corporations.


   If I’m upset about this, imagine the commercial growers who would see this all as ‘Tree-Hugger BS’. At least I believe in and support the basic premise of the classes.


   Here’s an excerpt from the article….


Hamerschlag’s report finds that careful studies have shown that several underused farm management practices, such as cover cropping, conservation tillage and organic fertilization, have the potential to deliver significant carbon sequestration benefits while helping farmers conserve water, maintain yields and resist weeds and pests in the face of climate change.

The report makes ten specific recommendations for addressing the inertia that has prevented California from taking effective action on agriculture and climate change and calls on policy makers to develop programs of targeted research, outreach, technical assistance and financial incentives for farmers.

“As a first step towards swifter action,” Hamerschlag said, key state agencies “should establish an inter-agency working group on agriculture and climate change. Federal agencies, NGOs and farm groups all have critical roles to play and should also be actively involved.”

Go here for the full report: http://www.ewg.org/Agriculture-Missing-from-Californias-Climate-Change-Strategy


   The last is the reason I am reluctant to make a decision to close shop and stop producing.  I believe that in time, the officials will realize they have destroyed the most productive farms on a ‘per-acre’ basis.. the small family and organic farms with their growers more interested in producing good foods and taking care of the land than just making a buck this quarter.


  We’ve been operating at a loss the last couple of years…. most of that is due to advertising costs that have not borne fruit. I’ve decided we’ll stop with advertising in the conventional sense… it seems to gain us very little for the cost.  This will allow us to at least operate without having to post a loss. Perhaps in a couple of years the government will come up with a plan to let farmers be able to take the classes through the internet and not have to travel 200 miles for them. Perhaps the government will decide that if it requires a thousand dollars worth of water testing yearly, they will reimburse the growers for some of that cost, since the reason is to help the entire country out. Instead as it stands now, they will push out all the large gardens (small farms) that make some of the best produce. Actually, they won’t, those folks will mostly just operate ‘under the table’, selling their produce to stores that are willing to take food from unlicensed growers without paperwork and receipts. But that will defeat the entire purpose of the testing.  Governmental actions generally have unintended consequences that often are more horrendous than initial inaction by the government.

Controlling Hearts and Minds

    I took a lot of  ’AgriBusiness’ classes in school. They tried to impress on us the importance of ‘economy of scale’. “Become a giant farm, have specialists for everything, and ‘mine’ the soil for all the nutrients you can, bring in all the inputs that allow you to grow the foods you need, use the pesticides so the produce will be blemish-free and appealing to the consumer.”  Then I went overseas and spent some time in Third-World countries, eating the fresh local produce…. I remember being at a market in Morocco and seeing scabbed oranges for sale…. I thought to myself how these would never sell in the USA and we were so lucky to have such great produce in the States. But when I peeled the rind away, the orange was as nice as any I’d seen, and the taste was better than oranges I recalled in the USA. That was the beginning of a desire in me to produce organically.  It is the taste of the food, the nutrition, and the food safety in it that really counts.

   But organic methods don’t work so well on the large scale of a huge agribusiness with its economy of scale. An organic operation must have patches of unworked land with bugs in them, and a variety of foods grown, not the large scale ‘monoculture’ that makes for such economy in the case of a large farm.  Yet the small scale of the standard small family organic farm means those people lose the economy of scale that a large operation has. For instance, marketing and compliance with food safety regulations can both be done more efficiently with a large farm.

   We are going through hoops right now with the local regional Water Quality Control Board  who want to do monthly testing of our well water. They say the costs will be ‘insignificant’. But over one thousand dollars yearly is not insignificant to us.  It means we must reduce some other costs that we can control, something like marketing.. which might reduce our sales. 

   While I understand the issues related to food safety, I also would like to see this country become less one of huge corporate mega-farms, and more of a hodge-podge of small family farmers, each selling locally or shipping on a limited basis some unique vegetable that cannot be grown efficiently in other places.

   North Carolina is a place I have some family, so when I see NC articles, they jump out at me. One such recently was about the Feds starting to examine small farms in NC.  The small-scale growers there are concerned that the proposed new regulations will drive them out of business.  I understand their concerns. But I have a prediction…. our government and people tend to move in cycles…. fear becomes hysteria, and then rules and changes out of all proportion to the threat are soon enacted … then years later cooler heads prevail, and things ratchet down some. Still, once you give the government the reins, they tend to keep tight fingers on them and never relinquish power.

   There’s a movement afoot to build small farms in the inner cities. Some propose bulldozing entire near-empty blocks and replacing them with farms to provide healthy nutritious foods for the local people. There will also need to be farm managers for these places, and many workers. I expect the federal government will give a large amount of assistance to these enterprises, and non-profits will be rushing to fill the spots, for which the government will pay them (we’re working with non-profits regarding our water testing, but still they charge, and everyone in the line there is making money, non-profit does NOT mean free).  These groups will be getting funds and assistance to meet their payroll and goals… but it seems that rural dwellers will still remain paying on their own…. but we’re used to being ignored by the government, except when they want to get their fees and revenue and now code-enforcement money.

   Believe me, the only thing the Federal Government can do is protect the country from invasion and fight wars, it is the only thing that is large enough to do that.  But pretty-much, that is the only thing the Feds should be doing… it is too large and unwieldy an organism to be able to see the small.  And so I expect it will in general wipe out small farms…. except for the ones that are willing to go ‘hat in hand’ and let the government take over their operation, and run it as a non-profit. In this way, the government will control the food supply.  Control their food, you control their hearts and minds.


Chapter 17

When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Second best is a leader who is loved.
Next, is one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.
Such as these have no faith in their people,
and the people in turn become unfaithful to them.
The Master doesn’t talk; he acts.
How sparing he is with his words!
When his work is complete and the purpose is achieved,
the people regard the triumph as their own.



Chapter 22

Yield, and maintain integrity.
If you want to become whole; let yourself become partial.
If you want to become straight; let yourself become crooked.
If you want to become full; let yourself become empty.
If you want to be reborn; you must let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything; you must give everything up.
The sage accepts the world as the world accepts the Way.
He is free from self-display; and therefore he shines.
Freed from self-assertion; he is distinguished.
Removed from self-boasting; his merit is acknowledged.
removed from self-complacency; he acquires superiority.
It is because he is free from striving that
no one in the world is able to strive with him.
When the ancient Masters said,
“If you want to be given everything, give everything up,”
they weren’t mouthing empty phrases.
Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly complete.


Chapter 44

Fame or integrity, which do you hold most dear?
Your wealth or your life, to which will you cling?
Gain or loss, which one increases your anxiety?
In fame and wealth and gain can be found the seeds of failure,
And in integrity and life and loss can be found the root of treasures.
Thus it is that a contented person is never ashamed of what they have,
Having self-restraint he can avoid trouble,
In this way he can endure long, and live contentedly.


Chapter 53

If I possess even the smallest bits of wisdom,
I would walk the great way, and my only fear would be in straying from this great road.
The great way is wide and the going is easy, but how people seem to prefer the side paths.
When the offices of government, the palaces and temples are richly adorned, and lavishly outfitted…
when the ministers are concerned chiefly with pomp and display;
the fields will be dusty and overgrown with rank weeds, and the granaries of the land will be bare.
The gentry wear elaborate richly embroidered clothes,
eat and drink in excess with their sharp swords at their sides,
these are surely the robber barons. This is not in keeping with the Way.


Chapter 57

Rule the kingdom with justice. Use surprise tactics to fight a war.
But it takes letting go to win and hold the world.
How do I know it is so? Through this: -
The more restrictive the laws in the kingdom, the poorer the people will be.
The more sharp weapons the people have, the more troubled and chaotic the state will be
and the less secure the people will be.
The more clever and advanced the people, the stranger the contrivances they will invent.
Law after law promulgates robbers and thieves.
Therefore the Master says: “I will let go of the law,
and the people will act rightly of their own accord,
I will love tranquility and the people will act with righteousness.”
“I will make no effort, and the people will prosper.
I will let go of all of my desires, and the people will return to native simplicity.”




Chapter 58

When a government is unobtrusive and tolerant the people will be happy and prosperous;
when a government is suspicious and strict the people are dissatisfied and crafty.
Good fortune is linked to calamity; misery is tied to happiness.
So who can tell when the end of this will come?
Is there no measuring-stick for the norm?
What is seen now as right and true will certainly someday be seen as wrong and false.
The people have labored under this sea of vexations for a long time.
Therefore the Master is square without sharp cutting corners.
His straightness is not strained; he is pointed without being piercing.
And he is bright but not blinding.


Chapter 72

When the people have no more fear of oppression; that is when oppressive forces will overtake them.
Do not restrict the people in their dwellings.
Do not oppress the people with heavy taxes and burdens.
If you do not wear the people out, they will not weary of you.
Therefore it is that sages know themselves well, but this self-knowledge is not displayed for all to see.
The sage respects himself, but does not try to become admired.
He will choose self-knowledge and love, and set conceit and opinion aside.


Chapter 75

When the nation is in want of food,
it can be seen that the government officials are eating too much of the grain in excessive taxes.
And why are the people restive and hard to govern?
They are in a state of near rebellion due to the intrusive machinations of the government.
The people learn to make light of death when they strive to obtain goods and extravagant items.
They are relentlessly working to acquire more, and look to death as a release from pursuit of material gain.
In this wise it is easy to not place too high a price on life.


Chapter 76

At birth a person is soft and supple; at their deaths they are firm and strong.
All creatures, plants and trees are born tender and flexible,
when they are dead they become brittle and dried.
Thus it is that people who are stiff and hard are companions of death.
The soft and yielding are the followers of life.
It can be seen that a great inflexible army will fall under it’s own weight,
just as a stiff unyielding tree will break in the wind.
Dwelling in an inflexible unyielding manner will bring downfall.
The pliant and supple will survive.



Chapter 77


The way of nature is much like the drawing of a bow.
That which is high is lowered, and that which is low is brought up.
The excess is removed, and where there is deficiency more is added.
The way of nature is to reduce the excesses and spread them to where there is deficiency.
The way of the world is otherwise, Mans way is to take from those who have little,
and give to those who have much.
Who is it that can offer more to the world, and have still more to offer? Only the person of the Tao.
Therefore the sage acts without laying claim to the act.
He can accomplish without boasting.
He has no wish to appear superior.


Chapter 81

Truth is not spoken with rhetoric;
rhetoric does not embrace truth.
The good do not quarrel; those who quarrel are not good.
Those who know are not widely learned, those who are widely learned do not know.
The sage does not hoard for himself. The more he does to help others, the more he can do.
The more he gives to others the more his own treasures increase.
The way of Heaven is to cause benefit, not harm.
Therefore the sage observes this and imitates it.
He acts, serves, and does without relentless striving.




Farm on wheels, a ‘novel’ concept?

Oy-Vey!   These young kids come up with an old idea and think they’ve reinvented the wheel!

   When I was a kind and visiting my grandma’s home in Germany, there would be a vegetable vendor who came along with a  small truck loaded with vegetables. He had some particular horn on his truck that everyone in the neighborhood recognized, and all the ‘hausfraus’ would come running out of their doors with marks in hand, eager to purchase the fresh veggies he carried. Remember this was ina  time and place where most families did not have a car, and the men worked and most of the wives stayed at home cooking everything from scratch most of the day. If a woman was out of green onions, this guy might save her a one mile walk to the store, so it was a good marketing-delivery concept.  There was also a fish guy who had live fish who’d come along on Thursdays so everyone could have their Friday fish. And the beer guy would have the key to your cellar, he’d replace your empty beer bottles with full ones, and credit you for the empty bottles.  And the milkman would give you your milk and yogurt.

   This concept was common in most towns in Europe and also in the USA. Only when WWII came along with the huge demographic changes in the US populace, and the wheels that ended up in nearly every driveway that these professions disappeared.  With most women in the workplace, and most families with a car for easy travel, and the proliferation of heat-and-serve foods, perhaps there is not much of a market for this service.

    Yet some Einsteins have come up with a ‘unique idea that should make money’  in the form of an electric truck that will sell veggies in the inner city neighborhoods.  Perhaps in some places this idea might work. But I think most people want to go shopping at a store where they can browse at their own pace, and not feel like they’re holding the guy up. Also US citizens are used to ‘spic-and-span’ in their foods. The idea of an open truck driving around with food sitting in the open might not seem all that appealing to many consumers. Now, I live in farm country, and anytime I drive to town I see huge open trucks loaded with strawberries, broccoli or tomatoes driving to the packing houses…. so I know this happens, but folks in the cities don’t know veggies except cello-wrapped, and mostly already washed and trimmed… indeed, many folks have no familiarity with fresh veggies, they get most of their veggies (when they eat them) from a can or frozen packs.

    Anyways, I hope the idea catches on.  It is a good concept, and hopefully all those husbands that have been laid off from construction and factory jobs and staying at home while their wives work, will shut Oprah off for a bit and cook their wives a good meal for when she comes home.  Maybe the vegetable truck will be handy for them while the wife has the car at work and the second car has been sold to pay the mortgage.

The End of Rivenrock? Will the tin soldier ride away?

The Law in its majestic equality,
forbids rich as well as poor to sleep under bridges,
to beg in the streets,
and to steal bread

~Anatole France~

   Since 1993 we’ve been an organically certified small farm in California. I had a job with a contractor which paid our household expenses and kept us solvent even when the farm sales were less than our farm expenses. But two years ago when the factory in town closed down, and most of us were laid off, I decided to go into the cactus growing more full time.  We grow a unique vegetable which we’ve shipped throughout the country.  Initially we shipped the cactus leaves as nursery stock, then governmental regulations tightened and we became more aware of the laws and regulations of shipping nursery stock into other states.  So we switched to shipping the younger leaves for people to eat themselves as produce. Our goal has been to ship to Health Food Stores, and restaurants as well as individuals who might be interested in the leaves we grow. Through the years our customer list grew slowly but steadily at a steady 30% rate. As the years progressed the governmental regulations seemed to grow more onerous… and the last year we’ve lost many of our older customers due to the recession. Other businesses have quit, some people seem to have stopped their regular orders. Yet, due to aggressive marketing, our sales this year are the highest we’ve ever had due to many new customers. Yet this was done at the expense of any profit we might have had.  And again the government has come down on us harder. Now we have been notified that we must complete a fifteen hour ‘continuing education’ credits in water pollution and conservation. I’m all for education, but these government-mandated classes for all farms in the state are not provided for free… we must pay for them ourselves.  The worse part is that they are given in the major population centers of Ventura or Monterrey to which we must take ourselves, and pay for our own lodging for the three days of the course.

   It is this extra bit that has me stymied.  We don’t really make any money doing this cactus business. All of our money goes to shipping, governmental fees of several thousand dollars yearly in order to maintain our licenses, permits, and associated fees and overhead expenses.  Knowing that this trip will lead us into negative financial territory makes me reluctant to want to go.  Knowing that due to these regulations, we must take  a sample of our water and have it analyzed monthly at unknown costs…. I am seriously aggravated at the state of our laws and the level of compliance required even for tiny little micro-farms.

   We have some months in  which to take the classes, and maybe I’ll find some classes nearby, but this more personal posting than usual is to let the people know that governmental regulations are  a double-edged sword. While they give the USA good traceability in produce, and  what is perhaps the safest produce in the world, it also makes for stronger economy-of-scale issues that stymie the small grower… right at a time that we are needing MORE small farms, not less.  If we were a huge corporate farm, with many employees, still we would need just one person to go to the classes, but when it’s a one-man operation, the standards are the same. The costs are the same, but they are a larger share of the profit in a small operation like ours.

     My usual outlook is of hope and positive thoughts. Rarely am I dragged into this level of aggravation.    I am sure I will sign up for the classes in Monterrey, they seem very informative and interesting.  But people need to know that excessive governmental regulations strangle small business, they hamper the process of business formulation.  We need to seriously look at what we want for this country, a place where people can transact business legally and efficiently with little governmental interference. If the government requires classes such as this, it should place them within the reach of the people, if it requires monthly water sampling, it should have a method to make such sampling efficient and inexpensive, (the paperwork mentions some samples might cost $8,000 yearly).

   Excessive governmental regulations hamper small business more than the large. If due only to ‘economy of scale’.

    When my dad grew up on an Ozark farm in the thirties and forties, they raised corn and wheat, raised hogs which they sold every fall and winter, and had a hundred or so chickens from which they sold eggs daily. They had five or six milk cows which they milked by hand, using the milk for food and their dogs, and one milk-can daily which they left on the roadside for the milk company to pick up.  They also went to neighboring farms to supply skilled farm labor.  Nowadays they would have to have many more permits, and each operation would require specialized equipment and permits and licensing.  As all these regulations pile onto business, you must streamline your operations, drop aspects that have no profit and require permits,  then you start to specialize. Yet a small family farm should not be a specialist farm, it should have a wide variety of foods and animals to create the ‘loop system’ for bio-diversity.  Yet through the years we have had to drop livestock from our farm, first initially because we did not have proper butchering facilities,  so we stopped the breeding of animals, until we had no more. We stopped using manures for fertilizer years ago because the government is worried about contamination of the soils with bacteria from manures. We stopped bringing in mulches for weed control and soil building because we could not vouch for the exact trees the wood chips came from. We are now a closed system with no outside inputs, and only material going out at a rate of a ton a month. Yet even this production is priced so low, and the shipping and governmental costs are so high, that we make no profit.  One day, it might just get through my head that I’m better off just enjoying the property ourselves, and stop working so hard to make a business out of it.  Yet, I know I can’t, we have such great customers….

   While mulling these thoughts over in my head, I decided I needed to go for a walk. So with my camera in hand, I went down the road and took photos of the things I love about living here.  And it is when in the wilderness, when I am furthest from people and the government, that I am closest to God and nature.  These photos are my world, they are my daily activities and sights…. it is what is most in my heart.



‘One Tin Soldier’


    Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
‘Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.
On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They’d have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.

There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.
So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they’d kill.
Came an answer from the kingdom,
“With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there.”
Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.
Now the valley cried with anger,
“Mount your horses! Draw your sword!”
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.
Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it…
“Peace on Earth” was all it said.
Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.




Number of small farms in USA goes up!

  For decades we’ve heard of how ‘Agribusiness’ has been swallowing up family farm after farm. Now a new study shows that the number of micro-farms (under nine acres) has gone up in the last five years!

   I suspect there are plenty of reasons for this. One is the fact that the government has been intruding more into lives and businesses for decades now.   This has also resulted in many large gardens being forced to register with the government in order to sell any produce they grow.  But I know that with the advent of ‘localism’ in food procurement, there have been many non-producing farms that have gone ‘back online’ growing and selling produce.  I think this regrowth of small farms is a good thing. Sure, they lose ‘economy of scale’, but they can also respond to changing conditions in the marketplace, and will have a certain amount of local buys almost guaranteed.  The closer to a large city these small farms are, the better their local sales should be.