Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

Sponsored Links

Summer BBQ



 BBQ…. cheese-stuffed bacon-wrapped peppers… squashes and cactus brushed with olive oil and our special blend of peppers…. and turkey burgers.

Summertime is good time.

But always remember that the following winter will ask you what you did during the easy-time of summer.

How To Stop A Church Gossip

“How To Stop A Church Gossip”

     Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the Church’s’ morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra-curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that every one seeing it there would know what he was doing! Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away.  He didn’t explain, defend, or deny.  He said nothing.. Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his Pickup in front of Mildred’s house … walked home …. . and left it there all night.

On Marriage

   Nature has given each species certain hormonal urges to ensure procreation. Mankind has these same urges…
   Often nature ensures that animals are ‘hard-wired’ to see the differences in others of the same species as likely indications of a suitable mating partner.   This is a method that ensures the mating units are not too closely related… this widening of the gene pool leads to what we call ‘Hybrid vigor’.  It is this ‘Opposites Attract’ feature that gives us widely dissimilar people who find some common interest in one another.

Ladies Love Country Boys
Trace Adkins

She grew up in the city in a little subdivision,
Her daddy wore a tie, Momma never fried a chicken,
Ballet, Straight A’s, Most likely to succeed

They bought her a car after graduation
Sent her down south for some higher education
Put her on the fast track to a law degree

Now she’s comin home to visit
holdin the hand
Of a wild-eyed boy
with a farmer’s tan

And shes ridin in the middle of his pickup truck
Blarin Charlie Daniels yellin, “Turn it up!”
They raised her up a lady
but there’s one thing they couldn’t avoid
Ladies love country boys

   This song is something like Vickie and me… she grew up in Orange County… she really never knew anyone with a garden until she journeyed to the country to visit her brother who was working on a local landscape crew due to his knowledge of Spanish. She saw a whole new life in the bush after she met me….

   But it sure was a different life than the city… we lived for a time in a tow-behind 27 foot travel-trailer. We grew much of our own food, and had no Television. As the song said… it was as primitive as could be. And it was fun, and new for us both.

   While the initial onrush of ‘Romantic Love’ is heady and easy to flow along with…. it is the long-term committed relationship that requires constant work, and forgiveness and love… and may require a bit of that in varying degrees each and every day….  To forgive and to accept and to deal with shortcomings and problems is the only way to continue.

   Just as Reba says….


~Reba MyIntyre~
‘I Keep On Loving You’

“Love takes the patience of Job”
That’s what my Mama always said
‘Faith is the belief in something more than what you know’
That’s what the Good Book says
You gotta play the cards you got
Who knows what fate is holding
At times you gotta go without knowing where you’re goin’

That’s why I keep on lovin’ you
I keep on lovin’ you
Through the ‘baby don’t leave mes’
And ‘never will agains’
And ‘I promise tos’
I keep on lovin’ you

Lord knows we’ve had our share of fights
Our sleepless nights, our ups and downs
We’ve had plenty and then some of ‘baby I’m gones’ and turnarounds
Sometimes I swear it might be easier to throw in the towel
Someday we’re gonna look back
And say “look at us now”

That’s why I keep on lovin’ you
I keep on lovin’ you
Through the baby don’t leave mes
And never will agains
And I promise tos
I keep on lovin’ you

   I’ve heard it said that “Men marry women hoping they’ll never change… Women marry men hoping they can change them”.

   Best is to pick someone you can put up with, and remain committed to… and hopefully you will have picked a person that can put up with you… and will remain committed to you also.

   I suppose it’s something of a crapshoot… and I never was a gambling man….

   An uncle of mine told me to “stay single, and raise your kids to do the same”… somehow in the sixties that was a really funny line.. cause no one had kids without being married (it seemed).  But he had five or six wives in his time….. he was speaking from experience.

Kahlil Gibran
‘On Marriage’

Then Almitra spoke again and said…
“And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:

You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings
of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress
grow not in each other’s shadow.

   Give yourselves some room…. for most folks being together 24-7 is too tough.  Get out and blaze some paths, encounter some new people… have some adventures…. but always be good.. so that you can come home and be happy to be there.. and have no regrets.  Life with regrets is burdensome and heavy.

But get away from one-another on occasion… just remember:
‘There ain’t no place like home’ 


‘Drops of Jupiter’

Now that she’s back from that soul vacation
Tracing her way through the constellation
She checks out Mozart while she does Tae-Bo
Reminds me that there’s room to grow

But tell me
Did the wind sweep you off your feet?
Did you finally get the chance to
Dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way

Tell me
Did Venus blow your mind
Was it everything you wanted to find?
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?

Can you imagine no
Love, pride, deep-fried chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you
Even when I know you’re wrong
Can you imagine no
First dance, freeze-dried romance
Five hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had and me

Tell me
Did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the Milky Way
To see the lights are faded
And that heaven is overrated

Tell me
Did you fall for a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself

And did you finally get the chance
to dance along the light of day?

Vickie and I are quite different, and yet strangely so alike in so many ways…
and after half a lifetime together we still get along and love one another….
although sometimes we grate on one another….
at those times we agree not to speak of the ‘issues or problems’….
luckily we have a lot of space….

and in a short time… there is no trouble.
Because in time most troubles fade away….
and in the end nothing else really matters but love.
And after we leave, that’s all we can take with us.

God is Love

R.I.P. Little-Dude

    It’s said mankind has been living with their animals for some ten thousand years….    I’ve heard ‘civilisation began when people started hurling words instead of stones’….    Maybe also it can be said civilization started when someone picked up an orphaned baby animal and raised it up… finally figuring out how this could improve the lives of people… the dog was perhaps the first domesticated animal… the social needs of dogs is similar to humans.. so we naturally get along well as a family unit. The keen noses of dogs would alert of intruders.. etc. Dogs are a good animal to have on a homestead. We also like our cats as they eat the gophers that plague our cactus. Actually, I need to talk to our tax man and see if we can expense the cats on our taxes for the rodent control they do… maybe the dogs too since they bark at the deer and alert me to run them off if they try to get in our seven foot high fence.
  Nah.. better not try that. 

  Here’s a photo of our Chihuahua Chica and the two kittens she raised up.
   I imagine heaven is a bit like this… animals that would be naturally antagonistic brought together in love through the Grace of God.
Chica raised these two orphaned kitties for us… giving them the warmth they needed while we fed them kitten milk replacer from eyedroppers. It is so heartwarming and precious to see the way they’ll come in from their nocturnal hunts and lay down next to their momma the dog.  They chase each other around the house in their little play times. Dang… we’ve got it good here…. we were without a TV for years… but the animals always kept us entertained. Between the sheep that acted like goats (Barbados), the goats that looked like sheep (angoras), the domestic and wild Russian boars we’ve had…. rabbits, fowls… etc.

   Here’s Whitey and Little-Dude…. both are shelter-dog rescues. Both were abused in their lives…
   Trauma can do so much harm to a mind and spirit….
   Whitey was found by us before he was mature… after some six months with us he jumped onto my lap for the first time. We had Little-Dude for almost three years… in that time he only jumped up on me a few times in the last weeks before he died.  I always had the worry it would be when he’s old and sick before he loses the edge of fear that kept him from me.  Even then he was wary… eying me suspiciously when I stroked his fur.  No one knows the trauma he went through… he had broken ribs and a tail with several breaks in it. He would cling near to Vickie and stay between her and me as if to protect her… whenever I approached her he would get scared and bite me.. but he was so old.. his teeth worn down to little dull nubs.
   Little Dude had a little spot on the grasses near the garden in which he liked to sit in the sun… we’d laugh and call him ‘Viejo’ which means ‘old-man’…. he so reminded me of some of the southern villages in Europe… where you used to see the old men sitting on benches alongside their houses…. their dark clothes in many layers… a beret-type cap on their head… smoking smelly cigarettes… how the mind works, that a little old chihuahua can remind me of my childhood in Europe.
  Little Dude passed on about a month ago on April 13 … he’d come in from his little warm-spot in the sun, and collapsed by the refrigerator…. he went through some spasms for a time, shuddered and stretched, and stopped breathing.  We buried him at the little spot he liked to sit in the sun…. it was touching because both Whitie and Chica sat on that spot in the sun for the next few days, and would nap on the little blanket he always liked to lay on. Some folks say animals don’t realize death…. but I know they do. When you’re working slaughtering animal after animal as I’ve done in the past… you soon realize the first couple trust you… proceeding along the line willingly… until the smell of death starts to get to them.. then they start to realize something is amiss…. they start to protest and panic… yes, animals in slaughterhouses do get scared… and it makes a difference in the taste of the meat.
   Most cultures have a way of assuaging the guilt of the people when they kill an animal…. they pray that the animal uinderstands the need to take their life and eat them… they pray for forgiveness, and that the animal will understand…. we don’t have that in this modern time when you have others do the killing for you…. if you’re gonna eat animals… I think it is best to kill them yourself… it seems more honest somehow.

   As for Little Dude…. I wish we could have gotten into his mind to see what happened to him….
   At least we gave him a secure home, with good animal friends he could try to be close to. I think he had as good a time for that few years as he possibly could given the internal torment he had.

   R.I.P Little Dude… see you at the Rainbow Bridge one day.

A gift for the grad, teach me how to live!

Teach me how to live!


   In just a few weeks, millions of young men and women will graduate from high school or college.
As a friend or family member, you may be wondering what to give this year. Fortunately, I know just the gift your graduate wants.

    Cash. (Yes, the same thing he or she wanted last year.)

    However, it never hurts to throw in a lagniappe, something small but meaningful. Ideally, a graduation gift should encourage the graduate’s dreams, with one eye on the past and the other on the future.

    That’s why I like to tuck the envelope inside a copy of James Allen’s timeless classic, “As a Man Thinketh.”

    Born in Britain in 1864, Allen was a slight boy who suffered from poor health. In 1879, his father – out of work and facing insolvency – sailed to America, hoping to set up home and send for his family. Soon after arriving, however, he was robbed and murdered.

    At age 15, Allen was forced to work as a factory knitter and later as a private secretary to support his family. He found the work mindless and unfulfilling but took solace in the evening among his books, often reading the Bible, Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Whitman into the early hours.

    In 1903, he decided to devote himself fulltime to writing and that same year published his best-known book, “As a Man Thinketh.”

    It’s a slim volume, one that can be read in less time than it takes to snooze through the average commencement address. But it packs a powerful wallop.

    The essential premise is that, even if you’re unaware of it, your underlying beliefs shape your character, your health, your circumstances, and, ultimately, your destiny. Your thoughts create your reality. ** You literally are what you think. **

    For this reason, you should be at least as meticulous about the ideas you feed your mind as the food you feed your body, since your life will largely become what your thoughts make it.

    This is not to say that your mind alone can heal a serious illness, fix your finances, or change the world. Allen was no purveyor of New Age mumbo-jumbo. He was, above all else, a pragmatist and an advocate of hard work and effort. Yet he understood that every great undertaking begins with a particular state of mind.

    Or, as he put it:
* Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.

* Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life. Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.

* All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts … a man can only rise, conquer and achieve by lifting his thoughts. He can only remain weak, abject and miserable by refusing to lift up his thoughts.

* As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them.

* A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will bring forth.

* Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.

    Allen insists that circumstances don’t make you. They reveal you. And while you can’t always command the situation, you can always command yourself.

    Sadly, Allen – frail throughout his life – died of consumption at 47. His nineteen books have sold millions of copies – all of them are still in print – but most were published posthumously. Allen was never a wealthy man, at least in the traditional sense.

    Yet he believed deeply in his mission. His words have inspired men and women the world over. And he was an enormous influence on followers like Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and Norman Vincent Peale.

    More than anything else, “As a Man Thinketh” is a meditation. But it is also a revelation. Allen demonstrates how your life is enhanced and ultimately perfected by inward development.

    It’s a fine message for graduates just setting out to tackle the world – and not a bad reminder for the rest of us, either.

    Others have preached a similar message, of course. But few have put it in more poetic language:

    “He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another world, and he discovered it. Copernicus fostered the vision of a multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it; Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty and perfect peace, and he entered it.

    Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.”

    (By Alexander Green, from the web site “Spiritual Wealth: The Road Map to a Rich Life”; http://www.spiritualwealth.com)



 Graduation is the real beginning of education…
everything before that is ‘Kindergarten’


‘Show me how to live’

The Master's Hand

‘The Touch of the Master’s Hand’
~Myra Brooks Welch~

It was battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”

But, No,
From the room far back a gray-bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.

“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune
All battered with bourbon and gin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.



   What a beautiful little piece the above is.
   I’ve been in some extreme situations… met some horrendous people in my life….
  Yet, even I still have faith that nearly everyone can be saved….
  Sad besotted lives… nightmares in daily living…
  Even they, with the help of the right person can be freed of their demons and live a happy existence….
   It just takes the right help from the right person.
   When you are the right person… won’t you please help?Because NOTHING in this life is purely by chance….
everything we experience is a learning point…
every day we are given opportunities to increase our internal wealth
and you never know when the fellow you pull out of the ditch
is the one who will fill you with internal gold

“Help thy brother’s boat across, and lo!, thine own has reached the shore.” 
~Hindu proverb~


Please don't let my dreams run dry...

   We’ve been oranically certified since 1993….
   This is one song that runs right into and through me…
   All I want to do is grow cactus, and live in this beautiful, quiet, remote canyon.


Jason Aldean
‘Amarillo Sky’

He says
“Lord, I never complain, I never ask why…
please don’t let my dreams run dry”

On his knees every night he prays
“please let my crops and children grow…”
’cause that’s all he knows

And he takes the tractor another round….


La Familia es Todo!

Family is everything….

   Take care of your family… you are entrusted with your role in your family. You must uphold your share of the workload and care. Give honor to your parents if you are a child… listen to them and help them to maintain the family properly… your help as a child will go far toward making your parents’ lives more pleasurable and fulfilling.

   If you are a parent, it is your responsibility to raise your children well… showing them the right way to live.

  There is NO responsibility in life greater than that of stewardship of your family.

  Honor and fulfill your obligations.  Don’t do wrong, nor engage in any activities that may disrupt the family harmony……

   What you do in your family will extend to the blanket of people you surround yourself with..  hopefully some of that goodwill may creep even further into your community.. and your community may extend a gracious hand to outlying areas…. in this way, your own harmony may be shown in far-flung locals and people that you don’t even know of!

   Just be good…. do good, be right and proper, and above all…. take care of your family… because ‘La Familia es Todo’.

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.                                     

thousand miles from nowhere


‘Thousand Miles From Nowhere’
~Dwight Yoakam~

I’m a thousand miles from nowhere,
Time don’t matter to me.
‘Cause I’m a thousand miles from nowhere,
And there’s no place I wanna be.


A really good cover of a Dwight Yoakam classic




As for me, I delight

in the everyday Way,

among mist-wrapped

vines and rocky caves.

Here in the wilderness

I am completely free,

with my friends,

the white clouds, idling forever.


There are roads,

but they do not reach the world;

since I am mindless,

who can rouse my thoughts?


On a bed of stone

I sit, alone in the night,

while the round moon

climbs up Cold Mountain.

~Han Shan~