In Which Fern Realizes that Robots are Terrifying…

…And in which I realize I need more hats.

Saturday it was time to stop neglecting my little garden plot, which I have scarcely watered or glanced at since we got back from Maine.

Fern was ready for everything as long as she got to eat her long coveted, happy dead chocolate sucker.

We unwrapped it and she exclaimed, “Take a picture! Take a picture mommy!”. Time to rein in the online presence?

One of her favorite virgoan pals was also ready for anything with his cup of coffee.

Comparing earthly delights.

We weeded and chopped and removed (goodbye and thank you, giant lounging wormwood) and mulched and then it was time to Poop the Plot. Fern was in giddy hysterics. This is her first year of truly comprehending that manure spreading is horse poop. Hilarity!

She was a fantastic helper for two hours, without even a hint of whine.

Say Horse Poop! Also, note another fine jazzercise ensemble.

My nettles that I have been nurturing for two years look set to finally take off this winter. Apparently, I should neglect things more.

In the afternoon, we geared up to head to Oakland…only to discover that Jeff’s car window had been smashed. Since there was nothing of value in the car, and they only rifled around, most likely it was a meth head. Meth makes people do really stupid things, like climb through a stranger’s bathroom window and then attempt to rob the residents with non-existant partners in crime. Tyrone!

Maybe it was Tyrone who broke into Jeff’s car, since his man is still on the inside, waiting to go to trial. (I actually feel a bit sorry for our intruder, since he seems to have been dropped by the justice system and is just languishing in limbo.)

Anyway, happy happy!

You might be picking up minuscule square pieces of car glass, but look at those hot red pants!


After vacuuming and taping plastic, I rallied the gang to stick to our original plan. We fueled up on coffee and hit the road for the Kinetic Steam Works Annual Roll-Out.

A collaboration of steam-punk geeks, with mad restoration skillz, Kinetic Steam Works has a warehouse building shop in Oakland where they restore, tinker and nerd out on anything with a steam engine. And when I say geek and nerd, I’m talking about my kind of people here.

I found it challenging to capture the scope of the machines, plus the sun was going down, but I managed a few glimpses. There were several trains tractors, plus a giant steam boat (in dry dock) and other little ferries with that classic steam boat whistle. Toot toot!

There was also a pumpkin guillotine.

Hot and heavy pumpkin pie.

A steam engine powered a player piano and also just some random mechanical bits…you know, because you can.

Little feet with no body pumped back and forth.

Fern wasn’t too stoked on unpredictable puffs of steam and loud toot toots.

Then, deciding she wasn’t deeply traumatized enough, we walked to the back of the lot to watch a robot fight.

This thing dripped kerosene down its chain, where it ignited on the ball below. You know…because you can.

It was engaged in battle over Pinky the Kids Car with Chainsaw Arm.

It was at this point that she started screaming. She wasn’t the only kid upset over the fate of the much desired tot sized rover. For the rest of the evening she would wimper, “I wonder what happened to the kids car?”. Explanations of creative re-use were not comforting.

That night, she was too terrified to sleep and kept saying that the scawey wobots were going to come in our room. We had a long talk that night (and during the next day) about how robots are not alive, and can only move if an alive person makes them move. No, robots don’t breath and robots don’t have skin. No, Thomas the Train is not alive.

I will also be shielding her from the genre of science fiction until she is 12.

KSW goes to Burning Man (of course). Their friends have a travelling dust bowl-esque house/stage. We were in between shows, unfortunately.

Oh brother.

(Missa, you were right, the vest is very “me”. Thank you.)

See that sign in the back? It says “bar”. As in hot buttered rum, hot toddy and sneaky bastards. Guess who was too afraid of robots to let mama enjoy some spirits?

Yeah, we only stayed for about 45 minutes.

Sunday we picked up Leo and took it outside to Tilden Park.

And what stroke of genius did we have? Let’s take the traumatized three year old to the STEAM trains! Because hearing that whistle blow won’t be triggering AT ALL.

So only Leo and I went on the train.

After we had all recovered enough to have snacks and play a game of Conkers (thanks for the suggestion Sadhbh!!) we went for a walk.

More wishes for Eeyore.

Mt. Diablo.

We found two lovely patches of blue serpentine clay.

I took a nice chunk home with us. One of the conundrums of successful potty training. What to do with all those left over swim diapers?

That’s what.

I don’t know what’s going on in this photo, only that Fern was cackling and singing some song about robots. Also, I need more hats. Hat: from forever ago with feather from Ferdinand the albino peacock, bag: buffalo hide, a gift, cowl of great comfort and warmth: anne, vest: missa, sweater: thrifted, legwarmers and pants: target.

Happy dark moon and almost eclipse, friends. Teeny, I expect you to take pictures for all us northern hemisphere folks. I will be away from this space for the rest of the week so I can finish my bioregional swap package for a certain wonderful gal.



10 thoughts on “In Which Fern Realizes that Robots are Terrifying…

  1. oh my god! pressure Mary! you’re giving me photo pressure! I’ll try. I have another word to describe people that smash car windows….besides jerks. How about “f*ckers”? I love your adventures, and can absolutely empathise about Fern and her fear of robots. It took at least 3 months for Mia to trust us again, whenever we went somewhere she hadn’t been before….”it’s not going to be a rollercoaster or a cave or a ride is it?” Universal Studios, not for under 8s I’d say. I see the weather is cooling off a little there now….glad to see some seasonal change for you. and daaaaaaaamn those are some hot red pants! Nice to see Gabriels face again too.
    I have a magenta wool felt hat, a cross between your hat above and a cowboy-esque shape. Maybe if I can part with it, I’ll send it your way one day. It comes very in handy for terrible hair days!

  2. So speaking of the bioregional swap, I just packaged my goodies to send off tomorrow. I also received my package from my swap buddy, full of magic from Oregon. I posted a few pics of both on instagram and tagged them with #bioregionalswap. It would be fun to see other packages as well. People not on instagram can still view the pics here. thanks again for arranging this! I did it last year as well and I’m looking forward to doing it again.

  3. enjoyed your pics and adventures on sat at ksw rollout……glad you enjoyed it…….we dont actually have any trains…….they are traction engines (tractors)…….it is our big event of the year and we we put a lot of hours of work in on it getting ready and cleaning up………

    1. hi sterling, we had a GREAT time, despite 3yr old protestations. ksw did a fantastic job of putting the event together and we were grateful that kids were welcome. we both left feeling inspired and wish we could have stayed longer. we def want to stay in the loop for further events. thanks for the info re: trains vs. tractors…i’ll edit the post to reflect that.

  4. hey, i can comment! haven’t been able to for the past week or two. yay! love your ensemble and that ksw event–will have to keep an eye out for future ones.
    oh, and happy belated birthday (again, cuz i couldn’t post on your previous bday posts)!

  5. I just came across your blog through Janet at Magnolia Wind and I really like it!

    I too have neglected things in my garden in the past to have them only thrive in return…nature can be weird sometimes!

  6. Ah, perfect! I had imagined that vest being incorporated into one of your steam punk flavored outfits πŸ™‚

    Oh no, sorry to hear the window smasher did indeed strike again, that sucks! I immediately was like, “hey it’s the red jeans!” though. Lucas recently took some convincing that the gray version of his regularly worn jeans was not “too much”, haha, kudos to Jeff!

    Also, I do believe I have a hat for you darlin’…

  7. poor little fern!! i do hope that she is over the scawy robot incident. πŸ™‚ bless her little heart… what a action packed day that was.. mary, i absolutely love that outfit…missa made a good choice with that vest and that cowl from anne. πŸ™‚ i love her cowls… they are just too pretty!! the hat rocks.. even if it is getting worn out. πŸ™‚ i always try to find one that i think suits me and never can come up with one i like… i do like vests, too. πŸ™‚ mary, i just now read about your terrifying break-in and it just brings me to tears….. thinking of what you all went through on that night….. thank God that ya’ll are all safe and sound.. ya’ll handled everything so well. and blue clay…. cool!!

  8. Ay, ay, ay. Poor Fern! I simultaneously find it kind of funny (I’m a bad person, yes) and… well, not. When I was little, I was terrified of this one particular grocery store called Stew Leonard’s. They had a mechanical cow head on the wall that mooed whenever you pulled a rope, PLUS the eternal costume-bedecked person standing outside. A bipedal cow. Absolutely horrifying. I know how she feels… except that cow didn’t have a chainsaw and wasn’t on fire, so maybe I don’t.

    In Turkish, we have something we can say to people when we’re extremely pissed. It roughly translates to, “I shit in your mouth.” That’s how I feel about those turds who broke your window.

    You are SO snazzy.


  9. Tilden Park is so my old stomping ground. Sigh. What a great little urban paradise you live in.
    So bummed about the car. Damn. You seem to have a good attitude, obviously you’ve weathered worse, but damn.
    Wobots are scawy, Fern. You stick with horse poop and happy dead chocolate lollipops.

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