Day 64: Low on trees

Day 64:

The trees here are pretty soft. They split in clean lines, with few knots or curves. They remind me of string cheese more than trees. Then again this place grows mushrooms the size of a small cottage, so maybe they are some odd string cheese. I haven’t been inclined to taste them.

Because splitting the wood is so much more effortless than the oaks on Earth, or the silverwood on Freya, or especially the Iron Root on Ares, I haven’t wanted much for wood. I had more problems doing things like carving than splitting logs, because the wood wants to split.

(This is one of the reasons I haven’t bothered with a wheelbarrow. I’d have to make it out of planks and seal it, instead of carving out the inside of a log, because the log would split almost immediately whether I wanted it to or not.)

The trees grow almost instantaneously, just like the duckens and cows and everything else on this whacked-out world. But just because they grow fast doesn’t mean I want to plant hundreds of them. That would look out of place and get me in trouble with The Company. On the other hand, careful harvesting means I have to regularly go out to get more wood because a tree will only last so long.

All this to say that I’m out of axe handles, and I forgot I was out of axe handles, so now I have to cut down a tree with a shovel (which will probably break it no matter how soft the wood) just so I can make an axe handle so that I can then cut down more trees and make more handles. And a new shovel.

If I could make an indestructible pickaxe, I could probably stay underground for days.

Watercolor of a very simple axe head, the type made in 18th century Earth. Labeled "axe head"
Titanium-treated steel it is not.

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