Day 63: Absorbent

Day 63

Still digging near the lake on my way south, so everything is seeping water most of the time.

The soil here is very absorbent though, so I’ve made the habit of piling dirt up in berms around the areas where I’m working so I don’t get flooded out and have all my torches whisked away while I work. (This is especially important since the torches keep the worst of the local fauna at bay.)

I’ve also discovered some veins of clay near the water. It’s incredibly thick and solid stuff, but still feels malleable. If I could figure out why I’d need bricks, I’d make bricks out of it.

After it dries out a bit that is. Right now I’m keeping it in a bucket because it’s too wet to pile in a box. Pretty useless stuff, saturated clay.

When I was in school I took an elective clay class. Not the pottery wheel throwing class, that was too boring. I took a clay sculpture class, where we made all kinds of different shapes and vessels and statues. It taught me a lot about the behavior of certain kinds of dirt, and was probably one of the reasons why I was willing to go into mining as a career. Once you’ve spent an entire weekend pulling an all-nighter in the clay studio, covered in wet clay, slip, and dust, the idea of doing the exact same thing with bigger tools underground.

line drawing and watercolor showing a chamber divided by a log-shaped pile of dirt down the center with some torches in it. to the left, water is dripping from the ceiling and forming a puddle on the floor. to the right, a double door.
I think they call these “berms”?

Day 62: Ghost bird

Day 62:

Still can’t find the bird in the cave house, but I can hear its clucking echoing off the walls of the cavern.

Digging faster drowns out the noise, but wears out my body.

At least it’s not in my bathtub this time?

Line sketch of a chamber, with another chamber to the left through a doorway, with a chamber behind that through another door. Random "cluck cluck" sound effects are drawn all over, indicating the author has no idea where the damn bird is.
Somewhere there’s a ducken.

Day 61: Chicken in my bed

Day 61:

Couldn’t find the chickduckling that slipped into my house last night. After I shooed it out of my bath it disappeared into the caverns below the cave house’s main floor.

Got up this morning, went down a few levels and south to continue digging toward the mountain. Dug all day. Came home to find one perfect egg laid in the middle of my bed.

Still no sign of the bird.

Sketch of the author's sheepskin bed very similar to day 32, except this time it has a white egg in the middle. Labeled "the bird laid an egg on my sheepskin. Coddammit."
Stupid bird

Day 60: No house chicken-ducks!

Day 60:

Spent all the time I planned to use writing this entry chasing a chicken duck baby (chickduckling?) around my living quarters. It got in while I was trying to go out to check on the cows, and when I came in, it had taken residence of my bathtub.

Oh hey, spent the rest of the day building my bathtub. I carved out enough stone around that spring in the middle of the cave that I can bathe in it now, and still get fresh water from the upper area where the spring actually comes out. So it’s almost like a sink/tub thing. Or something.

Anyway, did not plan to share it with birds.

Line sketch with some blue watercolor highlights. A tall cylindrical basin about probably 1.5 meters high with a water fountain in its center. Off of it is an oval tub about half the height but the full length and width of a human body. A wooden spigot and cork are in the side of the fountain basin and used to fill the tub. Labelled "Not to scale. Still needs hot coals to heat." The water is colored blue with watercolors and a door and wall are seen in the background.
Seen sans bird

Day 59: Carrots

Day 59:

The thing about carrots is that supermarket carrots are short and bright orange and sweet, and the rest aren’t.

Not all carrots are orange. Not all carrots are sweet. Not all orange carrots are sweet. Not all carrots are tiny things. My grandmother told me the carrots we call carrots today were called “baby carrots” in her childhood, and they were the smallest sweetest ones, or in some places, the sweetest part of the carrot carved out of the middle of a bigger not-as-sweet carrot.

Since I’m not a botanist, I’m not even sure that the things I’m eating and calling carrots are carrots. Scratch that — I’m on a foreign world that to my knowledge, while populated by humanoids, didn’t necessarily get populated by Earth humans, so these are almost definitely exactly not biologically like carrots.

On the other hand, they’re orange (or white or red or yellow, I’ve found a bunch of varieties) and can grow as long as half my forearm, and pack a pretty good calorie punch when you’re really hungry. They don’t go moldy in the cave, in fact they sort of like the humid muddiness in here. And they haven’t killed me yet, though if I eat too many in one day they do strange things to the color of my… output.

Still, they’re not sweet. They’re ruddy or dirty or russety and I have to cook the hell out of them to get rid of the bitterness They make a decent bread, but not a decent cake.

I miss sugar.

Watercolor of six stacked carrots, two orange, two reddish orange, one purplish red and one yellow. Labelled "carrots".
These are waiting to be thrown in the pot.m