Day 35: Fried Chicken

Day 35:

I thought I’d take it easy today, since I almost got crushed to death by falling rock yesterday.


I woke up, took a quick dip in the cave’s spring, got redressed, headed outside to pick my carrots, and a camouflage giraffe corgi was just waiting around the corner like some kind of… like some kind of stalker or something. One minute I’m carrying a basket I weaved to load full of carrots, the next I’m flying through the air like a rag doll.

So much for healing those sore muscles.

Even better, when I came to I discovered that the beast had blown a wall through the fence like that kept the chickens and the cows in. By headcount, I think I only lost one of each. The cow it appeared wandered off. Based on the smell, though, that chicken had to have been trying to snuggle the giraffe corgi through the fence when it exploded.

I do not understand exploding fauna.

I seriously do not understand exploding fauna that have to live near other fauna.

Anyway, spent the rest of the day repairing the fence while nursing a sore shoulder.

And I still don’t have the coddamned carrots in, so I now have to do that tomorrow instead of digging toward the mountain.

Black and white sketch. Depicts a hill - the door to the cave is in the side of the hill, the fence is on top of the hill, and a huge hole is in the top of the hill where the fence should be but was blown up. The sketch is so poorly rendered it looks like animals who fell in the hole would land in the cave house, but that's not actually how the geography works. Labels include "fence ruined", "hole", "dead chicken", "cave door" and "this is a horrible sketch"
The hole does not actually puncture the roof of the cave and this totally ignores my cow porch.

Day 34: Sloppy!

Day 34:

Dammit! I was totally not paying attention and almost got buried alive under a ton or two of loose stone.

Just like it’s dangerous to dig down it is also dangerous to dig straight up and I stood right under an area that I was cleaning out.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that Operation Dig Toward The Mountain is succeeding by accident. Every time I think one vein of ore has petered out, another one appears.

Sketch a chicken. The head and body are totally misaligned and the author needs to learn how to draw. Labelled "No one wants a sketch of gravel so here's a chicken. It's not very good but I am tired."
This… is not a good sketch.

Day 33: cavernous caverns

Day 33:

I dug out all the ore in the area I mentioned yesterday and almost plummeted to my death. It appears the ore was on the edge of a great underground cavern, and I was digging into its ceiling.

Welp, this is why I use rope. I’d also use steel anchors, helmets, carabiners, and lifelines if I wasn’t here stranded with no supplies but instead, I do what I can with a rope harness and the ability to tie myself to secure parts of the cave, where such opportunities exist.

Note: they don’t exist very often in these caves. I’ve never seen so many underground lacking in stalactites and stalagmites but hey, maybe water doesn’t seem through the surface the same way.

Sure is flocking damp anyway.

The good news is that I did not plummet to my death.

The bad news is that the cavern held a nest of exploding giraffe-corgis, who were so happy to see me tunnel into their roof that they attempted to blow it off.  Couple of scratches, no major harm… wish I had eye protection.


I’ve been thinking about what my plan is once I have enough iron ore to make some proper tools. There’s a mountain blocking my view of the horizon to the…  south? we’ll call it south since we’re assuming the sun sets to the west. For all I know the natives here call it the Blargleboop. Right now the only ones I have to talk to are the zombies and their language consists of Grrr! Arrrgh! and Ow! so that’s not much help.

Anyway. Mountain. I want to head to the top of it and see if I can spot any settlements, but I’m pretty sure I can’t make a round trip to it in the daylight. As we have learned, dear notebook, traveling at night is a good recipe for being strangled by a zombie, shot at by a skeleton thing, blown up by a giraffe corgi, or beaten up by a land squid, so I’m not thinking that’s a good idea.

I thought about taking one of my horses (they let me ride them now! Well, mostly.) but a) horses aren’t fully trained, b) mountain will still take tons of time to climb, and c) if anything happens, I’m back to being stranded in the dark.

But I’m a miner! And these caverns I keep finding are in the same general direction as the mountain.

So this week’s plan is to tunnel in the direction of the mountain. It’ll be slower work than just running to it, but if I extend this tunnel that direction, fewer local fauna will be able to kill me at any one time than if I try an overland route.

Then again, if I hit multiple caverns of camoflage death corgis, I might not need to worry about it.

Very simple black and white sketch of a mountain (big curvy line), a lake, and some dotted lines indicating the author's progress toward the mountain. She's maybe 1/2 to 1/3 of the way to it via her underground caverns.
The mountain. Maybe I should name it too.

Day 32: Cavernous….and hot

Day 32:

Back to digging out that vein of granite I found under the KILLER PONY SPIDER the other day. My arms and neck and shoulders are sore even without the help from the local fauna.

BUT! The granite was sitting on top of andesite, and the andesite was sitting on top of iron ore, and the iron ore was sitting next to some coal, so all said the strange locked-up killer pony spider turned out to be the guardian to quite a haul of excellent rock.

BUT! the walls in this area of my cavern are warmer than they should be. I mean, I don’t have a thermometer, but I do have two years fieldwork in mining, and it seems to me that the stone shouldn’t be warm to the touch when I’m well below ground.

Plus, there’s this ominous bubbling sound.

(Side note: there aren’t a lot of sounds here that aren’t ominous and there are days where the only thing I want to do is blast the new age screamo prog rock bands I grew up on so loudly that I can’t hear this planet trying to sneak up on me to kill me.)

There’s a chance that this vein of ore I’m chasing is near a magma chamber. But that seems silly. Magma chambers aren’t usually this close to the surface unless we’re sitting on a volcano, and I would like to think The Company would’ve warned us during prep if we were going to be drilling into geologically unstable areas.

The growing cynic in me figures this is just par for the course – a new way for the planet to try to kill me.

(Second side note: whoever decided to name this snothole “Serendipity” should be fired out of an airlock at light speed.)

The one benefit, if there is a benefit to being inside a geologically unstable hellhole, is that at least I finally found a chamber that’s warm. I’m considering dragging my sheepskins down here to sleep on tonight. Might actually wake up with warm feet for the first time in a month.

Sketch and watercolors. Light brown background with a blobby shape taking up most of the middle. The blobby shape is brown at the leftmost edge, then green, then some red near the bottom, then grey. It is labeled (left to right) My sheepskin, mud and dirt, plant and grass stains, granite dust, probably some blood too, the clean end where I set my head.
What I would give for a sonic cleaner right now.

Day 31: cavernous

Day 31:

While attempting to seal up the back entrance to my cave house, I came across a small vein of iron ore. When I dug that out, I discovered a sizable cavern containing more ore.

And a pony-sized spider. How it got in there I don’t know. There certainly weren’t any holes for it to climb into. My best guess — and it’s totally a guess — is that the spider crawled into a cave opening and then there was a wall collapse or something. Either that or it was born there, but if it was born there how the heck did it grow to the size of a pony with no food?

As if that wasn’t weird enough, the spider was perfectly friendly and happy that I let it out of the cavern for about a half hour… then it decided to try to eat me. I don’t know if it just took that long for the pony spider neurons to determine that I was edible, or if I was getting some kind of pony spider grace period for freeing it.

I smashed it over the head with a shovel. I’m still not happy about killing the local fauna especially since The Company frowns on it so heavily. On the other hand, if the pony spider is going to try to eat me, I think surviving is the priority.

Black and white hand-drawn map of the location of the spider. From left to right shows the author's cave, a few empty caverns, the cavern with the 2nd entrance of the cave, then a cavern labelled "granite" with a spider in it. In the background, some hills, in the foreground a lake.
Surprise spider location