Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

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Cactus Plantation Panorama

Rivenrock Panorama

Rivenrock Panorama


 I took a panorama photo of the cactus plantation.
The perspective and aspect are skewed….
But it makes for an interesting photo.

Oceano Sunspot

Oceano tidewater….Oceano California

Along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)


Oceano tidewater creek
Oceano tidewater creek pilings

~Bob Seger~
‘Sunspot Baby’

New Hospital Building in Santa Maria

   There is a new addition to the Marian medical building in Santa Maria.
   It’s pretty large…. and has some building techniques I’ve never seen before….
   It seems to be covered with a plastic sheeting….. perhaps to protect it from the elements until the outer coating can be completed.
   I wonder if it is huge foam blocks… that would be filled with rebar and concrete….
   But it is interesting to see.  I suppose if I listened to the local news some…. I’d know what’s going on.


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.


A Week and Windy Week.. No Fun

012210floodroad1  012210floodroad2 

We’ve had nearly a week of rainy weather… accompanied by high winds.

   Some local areas got twelve or more inches of rain in a week…. this is about one third of a usual year’s rainfall… all in one week. For many places, this would be merely a regular stormy week…but it is the first such weather we’ve had in three or four years.

Here is a flooded area just off the 101 in the Avila area.

012210floodoak  012210floodfield

Here are two shots I took near our place… one is a downed oak in the canyon.
   We had several trees go down in the canyon. The soil is so wet that the winds allow the roots to semi-liquefy the soil by moving the tree back and forth, hour after hour, day after day… for five or more days while the rain comes down, hour after hour, day after day…. this can help the tree topple. 
   The other photo is a nearby field, used to graze beef cows…. it is years since I have seen this amount of runoff water on this spot. The water has natural drainage swales… these people treat this ground prety good… they never allow livestock in while the ground is marshy… it is bad for the feet of the animals… and it turns the wet spots into mud wallows that don’t provide any food for the animals, and keep them muddy. Their animals are rotated around different fields so they always have fresh clean grasses, and never destroy the structure of the soil.

012210flooddownedtree1   012210flooddownedtree2

  On the left is a tree that went down on the canyon road … there was no way to get around it. This has happened before.. once I traded vehicles with a neighbor on the other side of a downed tree…. it got me home, and him to work. Some local folks carry chainsaws with them when coming in and out… you never know when a tree will come down…
  In a case like this it is local custom that anyone coming along with a chainsaw may take what they can cut… but the first goal is to open the road. In this case, the county came by and cut it. Usually when a tree goes down like this, local canyon dwellers usually cut it up and haul it away before an hour has gone by…. he who waits will not get wood. In this case.. the wind was blowing fiercely, and no one else was about… I went home and waited out the storm rather than risk a tree falling on me. I was going out taking a cat to the vet to be teutored… this is the third time he has escaped his lessons… the first time he got locked in a neighbor’s garage, the second time he clawed his way out of the doggie door while being held indoors overnight… and this was the ‘third-time’s-the-charm’ thing.. and it seemed like God caused the tee to fall to keep this cat’s bloodlines going…. what’dya think? 


012210floodcampy2   012210floodcampy  012210floodhail

   This is a neighbor’s barn. We had a few hours of decent weather between the thunderstorms…. just after I took this photo the radio sounded off with the ‘Public EmergencyAlert’ (first time I recall hearing an actual messag on it instead of jsut a test), warning of a severe thunderstorm crossing Pismo Beach, and heading inland at thirty MPH. A few minutes down the dirt road hail started falling onto the truck. We seldom get hail… I’ve only seen it here perhaps five times in the last twenty years. The severe thunderstorm was overhead. In a matter of minutes the wind started roaring and blew like crazy again.


012210flooddinosaurcove   012210flooddeer2   012210flooddeer1

   Here is a photo of some clouds coming onto the shore at the Dinosaur Cove area near Pismo Beach. On the way back into the canyon I saw a young deer on the road… My first photo used the flash… but the deer was too far away… but I like the deer-eyes glow. You can see what condition our road is in…. four miles each way daily will take a toll on car batteries, and suspension systems.


012210floodcactus   012210floodblowngrass   012210floodcatlizbeth

  A storm like this can topple some of our cactus plants also.  The large Opuntia ficus-indica to the far left fell over…. it was perhaps seven feet tall, and probably weighs about one hundred pounds.
   The middle photo is some of the grasses growing on one of our hillsides.. notice how they are bent over by the rain and wind. I really want the grasses to grow… they absorb water reducing runoff, they also open the soil permitting more water entry, helping the water to infiltrate into the soil. Depending on the situation, we often let the grasses grow, mature and set seeds. We will then mow them to reduce the cover for snakes, and keep the weed stickers down. The cut grasses form a mulch on the soil.
   The third photo is one of our outdoor cats, Elizabeth Little-Grey. She sleeps in a little cat-condo… here she sticks her head out. We often lay a blanket over the condo at night, to help keep her warmer. On occasion we’ve brought her indoors during storms, but she doesn’t like being indoors at all… she quickly runs to the door begging to get out. She’s really cute and friendly outdoors though.   All-in-all, it’s been a fairly un-fun experience the last week. Plenty of ag and mining operations have lost much production. The tourism industry likely lost some revenue during these storms… but on-the-other-hand… we’re pretty darn lucky… things could have been worse (but we’re not out of the weather yet), most of the country has had much worse weather for the last two months than this one single week has been for us. So we’re really lucky, but still hope we don’t have to go through anything near this again for some years.

A pretty sunset…. The sky Is Crying



   After a week of near-constant rain, the sky stopped crying, the air cleared up… we were able to harvest and ship some cactus….
and we were rewarded with a spectacular sunset

Steve Ray Vaughan – The Sky is Crying ( Albert and BB King)

A fine video…. music unparalleled

Travelin’, Broke, and Adorable

   When you’re young is the time to go off and do silly fun things for a while.   Yet, you don’t want to get so caught up in it that you lose your future.

   I had a great time for a while when I was a youngster…. but then I got caught up in work…. yet I always still try to hang onto the fun in life.  And in general each day is a blast, an adventure, and I love it all so much.  Yet, I’m tied to a piece of land, chained to the world on this cactus-patch I cultivate.  Perhaps that is why when I see folks travelling and exploring this great huge world, and themselves, I have to smile, and hope they proceed safely, and arrive at a destination one day, a destination in which they can, like me slowly age and settle into safely.

   I was dropping off our boxes of cactus in Santa Maria yesterday, near the 101 Freeway, I came upon two young scruffy guys with signs, trying to gather money for their travels.  Fifty yards further on I saw the honey-pot…. (or honies I suppose).   I am sure these girls are travelling with the guys…. they are the ones who get the money, and the guys are close enough to keep the girls safe.  It made me smile to see their marketing plan, so I snapped a picture and gave them a couple of hard-earned cactus dollars.

  And yes, I’ve always had a soft-spot for those ‘Hippy chicks’, it’s good to see the species is still viable.

   Travel safely young-ones!


Travelin', Broke and Adorable



‘Peace of Mind’


 Now if youre feelin kinda low bout the dues you’ve been payin’
Future’s coming much too slow
And you wan’na run but somehow you just keep on stayin’
Can’t decide on which way to go



I understand about indecision
But I don’t care if I get behind
People livin’ in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind.


Now you’re climbin’ to the top of the company ladder
Hope it doesn’t take too long
Cant’cha you see there’ll come a day when it won’t matter
Come a day when you’ll be gone


I understand about indecision
But I dont care if I get behind
People livin in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind.


Take a look ahead, take a look ahead’


Now everybody’s got advice they just keep on givin’
Doesn’t mean too much to me
Lot’s of people out to make-believe they’re livin’
Can’t decide who they should be.


I understand about indecision
But I don’t care if I get behind
People livin in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind.


Rivenrock Terraces

looking down from our Western Terraces

looking down from our Western Terraces

Rivenrock terraces from across the way

Rivenrock terraces from across the way

This is the view of some of our terraces from across the way

Afro Celt Sound System – Persistence of Memory





A beautiful video… We’ve been entrusted with a beautiful world

People are half of the beauty, and half of the curse of the world.

What an intriguing species.

Food and Fotos

   Dang, I love to eat… I love to look at the things I will eat (If I can’t stand the look of it, I don’t eat it), I love to take photographs of things, including some of the foods I eat.  Just as I like to travel, but when I can’t I am content looking at photos of the exotic places I’d like to visit… I also like to look at photos of the foods I’d like to eat.

  There are a few websites that specialize in displaying the pretty photographs of fine foods submitted by readers. A few are Foodgawker, Photograzing,  and Tastespotting… These sites will often be populated with foodies who enjoy making very professionally composed photographs…. lighting, composition, focus, all of the elements necessary for ‘proper and professional’ photography is utilized to make up the amazing photographs of the amazing foods.  Common folks like me can take the best photos we can of our foods and submit them to these sites, hoping to have our amazing photos displayed for the entire world to drool over….

   But then common folks like me, who can’t quite make the foods so pretty, the lighting so perfect, the focus as sharp…. we are denied the privilege of having our foods on the ‘premier’ sites listed above. OK, when we get denied the ‘fine’ sites… we always have ‘TasteStopping‘ to submit to! Yes, you can take your ‘off-focus, badly lit and cropped photos of your foods, and submit them to someplace that enjoys the food whether you know how to take good photos or not!


   While looking the sites over, I just had to do a search on each for ‘cactus’. Here’s my results…. sadly, none of the photos are mine…

  • TasteSpotting had a nice page of scrumptious cactus fruits and leaves…

  • Foodgawker had a pagewith six photos of cactus dishes… including a personal favorite, tripas con nopal

  • Photograzing and Tastestopping were both devoid of cactus photos…. oh the heartbreak!

   I submitted some photos of my cactus dishes to the three that accept fine foods photos….I have to wait until they decline them before I can submit them to Tastestoppers.  When submitted to tastestoppers, I have to send them the comments about them that were given as reasons for being declined at the top three sites.