Thursday, November 3

Loud tough talkers

Historically speaking, loud tough talkers end up creating more long-term problems for themselves and others than they solve.

Wednesday, October 12

Banana Bed

This is my latest attempt at growing bananas. One of the problems I've had in the past is the hot arid wind in Phoenix. The banana leaves are so large that the dry wind quickly sucks all the moisture right out of them. This time I've got a masa goldfinger up by the house protected by straw bales. I water the bales in order to raise the humidity level around the bananas. Eventually, after they are conditioned I'll plant veggies in the bales, too. I currently have a couple of potted pineapple plants in the banana bed as well. I've never seen either the bananas or the pineapples happier.

Saturday, September 24

Roy Goble's Junkyard Wisdom -- Review

Roy Goble is a down-to-earth kinda guy with a fun and wacky sense of humor. Yet, he also has great business sense and now -- a big bucket of money.

Roy’s recently released book Junkyard Wisdom is the transparent and often humorous story of his wrestlings. In light of what Jesus says about money and wealthy people, is it even possible to be a faithful but wealthy follower? What would be the best way to benefit the poor, while protecting his own soul? Maybe he should just give it all away.

One of the problems of money is that it walls the poor off from the wealthy. Out of sight, out of mind. The rich unintentionally end up suffering a kind of amnesia in regard to those on the margins. But Jesus seems pretty adamant that following him involves welcoming the poor and marginalized into your life. All that sounds pretty messy and as Roy struggles -- it is.

Roy tells his story -- stories -- starting in his father’s San Jose, California junkyard, which became the seedbed of his own Goble Properties real estate empire. The journey moves in an engaging way through rural Belize, the ghettos of Thailand, and back into the affluent San Francisco Bay Area. There is a sense of playfulness throughout -- including a cameo appearance by radical Christian activist Shane Claiborne in one of the footnotes. Shane indirectly calls Roy out on one of his ideas.

Goble and co-author D. R. Jacobsen are able to maintain tension as the story unfolds, finally finding a sense of resolve in the end. Yet the question remains for the reader to decide whether it is adequately resolved.

The fact is that this book would not have appeared on my radar so quickly except that Roy wrote it. We grew up eight houses down from each other in the Willow Glen area of San Jose. He was best buds with one of my younger brothers throughout elementary school and was nearly a family member in our house during those years.

I’ve enjoyed knowing him as an adult through his blog and Facebook posts. He has become a spiritually insightful story-teller. Junkyard Wisdom is Roy at his best with relevant questions, clear thinking, and application -- even for those of us who don’t have the wealth-generation gift. And you certainly don’t have to know him to realize that this is a unique book filled with fodder for necessary discussion. But I’m pretty certain that after reading the book you’ll feel like you know him, too.

Sunday, August 14

Friday, August 12

Wednesday, July 20

Indian Fig

View the slideshow

The birds have long been at it but I've finally harvested my first tuna (fruit) from our huge Indian Fig (Opuntia ficus-indica) at Boydston Manor. They do require special handling to avoid the glochid tufts (spines). But it is easy enough slice the skin off the tuna.

The tuna has a pleasant fruity flavor -- perhaps a cross between a strawberry and a fig. The texture reminds me of a kiwi and like the kiwi there are plenty of seeds. But they are easily separated from the fruit in your mouth.

Ideally I would allow the fruit to ripen more before harvesting. But the birds have been aggressive.

I planted this Indian Fig from a paddle cutting I got from someone six years ago and this is the first year it has fruited. If anyone would like a cutting I'm happy to share. This cactus is native to central Mexico.

Monday, June 27


"Truth is not at risk because we express it in love." ~ Art Greco

And if I might be so presumptuous as to add, a truth spoken apart from love is never completely true.

Wednesday, June 8


My sense of the situation is that much of what we think and do is motivated by fear -- fear that someone is trying to take our place in line. But that very fear prevents us from realizing that we're standing in the wrong line and that the only reason others are interested in the line is that we're standing in it.
The Lord is on my side,
and I am not afraid
of what others can do to me.
With the Lord on my side,
I will defeat all
of my hateful enemies.
It is better to trust the Lord
for protection
than to trust anyone else,
including strong leaders.

~ Psalm 118:6-9 (CEV)

Thursday, April 14

Quinoa Experiment

There has been considerable interest in my quinoa experiment. I'm trying to figure out if it can be grown in the low desert and if so, what would be the best planting rhythm. This is the cherry vanilla variety. It's now up to 22 inches and is starting to develop flowers. I planted in the second week of January. At this point we have not yet had any days over 100°F.