Minecraft: Agrarian Skies – Snapshots from Hermit Island

Home Sweet Sky Platforms....

The fun thing about starting from an identical map is that shortly thereafter, each player puts their own unique “home” imprint on things, arranging things how they like with what made sense at the time.

Before you know it, the place won’t look the same at all.

Here’s the view from my front door, complete with good luck cat.


In the original dirt spot is a peach tree, grown from a lucky reward sapling. A plum tree has joined it in the background, but I’m clean out of any more fruit tree growing space.

Future plan: Extend outwards to get a proper orchard going.

There’s some milk sitting in the oak barrels, conveniently sheltered by a cobblestone roof extension that was actually raised flooring for Cobblestone Generator, Version 2.

That was just an experiment to see if the milk would keep and not spoil, though I believe there are a lot more effective fluid storage means (like fluid tanks of one sort or another) that I haven’t gotten around to sampling and learning yet.


Speaking of Cobblestone Gen V2, here it is.

Pretty much copied off the Minecraft wiki, it uses two lava flows and four water sources funneling blocks to the center location you stand at.

Because two cobblestones are formed, you can essentially just keep on mining instead of having to wait for the lava to form another block.

It took me a surprising amount of time to figure out that one can also just hammer the cobblestone to get gravel immediately.

There was no room on the ground floor of the island, and I was a little paranoid about safety and mobs sneaking up behind me while tunnel visioned on mining cobblestone, so it made a lot of sense to me to just knock a hole in the house roof and extend out a second floor.

Of course, this was not without its learning hijinks.


This is why you take the effort to put obsidian blocks behind the lava source of the cobblestone generator.

Version 2.0 did not.

Naturally, I was bound to accidentally mine through the ordinary stone brick and create a lava leakage. Which, due to its placement, created a lava waterfall and took out the original peach tree.

Could have been a lot worse.

Version 2.1 was hastily retrofitted with obsidian, and Peach Tree #2 has been quite safe for a while now.


Having absolutely no experience with Minecraft mods of an industrial nature, it’s been very baby steps for me, tiptoeing slowly into the automation portions.

There won’t be any complex machines here for quite some time, I think.

I generally like to take my time and understand each component singly and get it functioning in a simplistic way – easy enough for me to understand – before getting ambitious and chaining them all in a way that might either break the machine or my CPU.

Cobblestone Generator V1 was upgraded with one of my first automatic machines, which honestly seems sufficient for my present cobblestone needs.

It uses a Terrain Smasher.

This interesting block breaks up any block placed in front of it. That is. the cobblestone that keeps forming when the lava meets the water.

I added a lever, so that I can turn it off and on on demand.

I suspect I’m just a bit more of a manual control freak than an automation personality. I take immense pleasure in being able to flip the switch and watch the machine go. Then walk away and do some things while knowing it’s running. And then coming back and flipping the lever to turn it off, while I drool over the cobblestone produced.

I mean, I know I can just create an essentially bottomless barrel instead of a chest and leave the thing to run on automatic forever and never lack for cobblestone again… but the idea of exhausting my computer cycles and lagging me out every now and then, producing needless waste just… offends, somehow.

I just like it a lot better when I can say, ok, time to stop and time to start.

(And the chest on top of it collects the cobblestone it smashes up. Because of said control freak-ness, I rarely let the machine go long enough to fill up its capacity. There’s only so many stacks of cobblestone one needs at any one time, anyway.

I know that one day I can set the whole thing up in a big long chain to funnel cobblestone from hither to thither, machine to machine, all on automatic without me having to move a muscle, but meh, that day is not today. I’ll need so much more floor space for one thing, and it seems to take out some of the fun without manual input and control. Sort of like, yeah, one day, you could probably get a robot to drive your car for you and ferry you from place A to place B with the push of a button, but manually controlling the car and having some say in the matter has a certain ‘feel’ to it too.)


The glass-encased ladder (because I don’t like climbing high places without a safety net to prevent strafing off ladders) from Cobblestone Gen V2 leads up to this beauty…

The Pulverizer Mark 1000.

My most complex machine to date, I made an entire raised floor for it (and future automation machinery) because I was nervous that I might break something or cause it to explode. Everywhere on the ground floor was already too cramped as it was, even before considering the damaging effect of an explosion or fire.

See, cobblestone has to be hammered into gravel. And gravel into sand. And sand into dust.

If I didn’t want to be chained to manually hammering stacks and stacks of the above blocks (and I don’t,) then I had to figure out an automatic way of dealing with the problem.

It uses a Magmatic Dynamo – which creates fuel/energy based on me feeding in buckets of lava.

This is connected to the main Pulverizer block in the middle.

(It would be a point of hilarity to share that it took me a while to figure out how these two blocks connected up. I originally placed the Pulverizer alongside the Dynamo block and it just wasn’t receiving any input. Turns out that I placed the Dynamo so that the output was facing up, and not sideways. Still, it was a happy accident. I kind of like the look of it this way.)

One can then set the Pulverizer block to output things on any of its faces – in this case, left and right. Chests are connected to it so that there’s somewhere for the items to go.

(Presumably one can eventually make pipes or conveyer belts and things that can move stuff around to more conveniently located chests/storage, but meh, why complicate things when learning?)

It took a while to figure out how to get blocks to feed into the Pulverizer. A mere chest on top of the input face didn’t work.

So the next step was to dump a hopper (that grey upside-down pyramid) on the input face.

This worked.

Except the hopper only could hold 5-6 stacks at once. So the chest got dumped on TOP of the hopper.

Now anything placed in the chest, falls into the hopper, which feeds it into the pulverizer, which does its crushing thing and feeds the output to the two side chests.


Add a lever for on/off control and celebrate.

The Mark 2000 is being planned soon. One problem that I ended up encountering with the present model is that it’s a pain to ferry lava up to this platform, two buckets at a time, from my main crucibles below.

I believe it will be possible to actually make a cobblestone generator up here (aka a one-block Igneous Extruder machine) that will feed its output into a crucible, which will melt it into lava, and then let the lava flow directly into the Magmatic Dynamo. Yet another Future Project to consider.


Meanwhile, my Smelter is doing fine. It’s the same basic construction I used in Hexxit, with one side devoted to casting three ingots at a time, operated with a button, with the three blocks linked with a redstone circuit.

Another side has casting basins for solid blocks – though somehow the last block doesn’t respond very well to a button-operated redstone circuit (the power cuts out too quickly for it or something) so I’m reduced to manually operating the faucets when needed.


The only funny story about the smeltery so far is that an escaped pig from the nearby pasture apparently made its way to and INTO the smeltery, while molten metal was present in it. Naturally, it must have roast itself to death, because I found 40 mB of blood in the smeltery later.

And the blood was busy clogging up the pipes and preventing the molten iron on top of it from flowing out into their ingot casts.

Enter problem-solving efforts to figure out how to get the blood out.

Fortunately, after some reading, it appears that Seared Tanks keep the liquid stored within it, even after being pickaxed and moved elsewhere.

So it was a matter of moving away a casting table, replacing it with an empty Seared Tank right under the faucet, turning the faucet on and letting the 40 mB of blood drip into the Seared Tank, then moving the Seared Tank off to the side and replacing the casting table.


The one lone pasture has been extended with another.

Ironically, they ended up in a Jungle biome by sheer accident, so an insane number of ocelots have been spawning in. I’d have more tamed cats sitting around, except I haven’t had time to fish.

Unfortunately, this means chicken-keeping is quite impossible with all those wild cats roaming about, turning randomly spawning chickens into balls of feathers and chicken meat, so another Future Project is to create a safe chicken rearing area.

I am also super proud of these stairs that lead up and down to the smeltery and Cobblestone Gen V2 on the roof.

Building these up and down, and installing fence railings, while suspended over a void was quite a feat of engineering.


Another view of the back area.

The artificial pool keeps being extended and deepened, in an effort to make fishing easier. The hook still keeps sticking into the sides and bottom though, if I don’t look up at the sky to cast, so really, it can stand being extended even further.

Eventually, there will need to be more water tanks when I experiment with marine aquaculture anyway.

The water barrels for clay making have been moved to a more stable platform – which is also conveiently producing mossy cobblestone via leakage from the barrels.

Outdoor crucibles making lava are barely visible beyond the barrels – these were moved outside because I was worried about risk of fire from lava as a fuel source. (Plus eventually, a perpetually burning netherrack fire when I get my hands on some netherrack.)

Some corridor space was co-opted for experimental mycelium and witch water barrel production, as well as a safe isolated spot for infesting a single tree with a silkworm for silk. But really, I need a proper mushroom farm area some day… Future Project Number Whatever. I’ve lost count.


This beauty took quite a while to construct.

I don’t make mob spawn/farm/grinders very often, but since one of the quest instructions was to make one of these… and the turn-in requirements were 10 rotten flesh and 10 bones, it seemed like a project to work on.

It operates on the simple “drop a mob through a center hole in the floor” principle.

Except I pretty much had to construct the ground it stands on – double layered, because I’m scared of accidentally pickaxeing through a one layer floor and falling to my doom. (It’s not like I don’t have enough cobblestone now.)

Creating the mob spawning floor was a bit trickier.

It’s relatively compact, and doesn’t allow for a straight 8 blocks of flowing water to push mobs into the hole. So I had to experiment with the compact design of curving water around cobblestone slabs until they ended at the hole.

The problem was that I shortly ran out of viable spawning locations between all the water and cobblestone slabs, so I had to construct a second floor to spawn mobs in.

The second floor has a 2×2 hole, surrounded by open fence gates (as suggested by the wiki to fool the mob AI into wandering into the hole – without the fence gates, they certainly didn’t seem to drop very often) that dumps them either directly down the chute or into the first floor, where the water should eventually push them to their doom.



You see the head mounted on the right pillar? That’s mine.

This claimed one life from me when I accidentally stepped into the running water stream while constructing it, and failed to react fast enough and generate sufficient force against the current.

OF COURSE I already put the Punji Sticks at the bottom, so even if the impact on the floor didn’t off me, the five sticks with nowhere to run would certainly have their way with me.

The only good news is that I could walk back and collect all the items that fell out of my corpse.

Yep, stress-tested and proven to work!

The glass drop chute was an experiment with Forge Microblocks – a mod that lets you chop a solid Minecraft block into smaller and smaller shapes, oddly reminiscent of Landmark’s microvoxels, in a sense.


This was the size test. You can chop them into slabs, panels, pillars, strips, corners, notches and so on.

I settled on Panels – which appears to be 1/4 of a normal block.


They’re placed on the OUTSIDE, on the surrounding blocks, leaving a complete 1 block clear space for mobs to drop unimpeded through.

I didn’t want to climb up 23 blocks or more to make the mobs die on impact, so I added some Punji Sticks at the bottom, which do enough extra damage to off the mobs quickly.

If one gets the timing and positioning -just- right, one can actually get a hit in for some experience, but it’s certainly not the most effective experience grinder. That can be, yes, Another Future Project down the road.

The really accidentally nice thing about this that I discovered is that one can pretty much walk all around the shaft and collect any items that drop, they’ll float right through the clear glass microblock if you can’t reach it from the front.

Eventually, I suppose one can put a vacuum hopper to suck up drops into a chest… but I’m still working on producing Ender Pearls to make one.

I made my mob grinder to only have a two block height limit, because I didn’t want to deal with Endermen spawning, running into a water stream and freaking out, then teleporting all over my base moving blocks around.

Still, this means I need to either think up another way to get Ender Pearls – aka experiment with Pearl Oysters from Mariculture or bee-keeping (though that might be more complex a task than bargained for), or make a more controlled mob spawner/grinder, just to handle and deal with Endermen.

Future Project Number Umpteen.

And always alongside, is the reminder of being endlessly hungry and needing food.

To combat this, beyond the sustainable basics of growing lots of carrots and juicing them into carrot juice (with which I’ve been living on most of the time), this means going further into Pam’s Harvestcraft mod and working out recipes for more substantial meals.


I bit the bullet the other day and sat in my teeny tiny house, making all the complex utensils the mod requires – Pot, Mortar and Pestle, Saucepan, Skillet, Mixing Bowl, etc. and then arranging them on Bibliocraft shelving units so that it looks a bit kitchen-y.

You can also tell that I’m fast running out of storage space and need to expand elsewhere, eventually.

My sieve has graduated from being manually operated to having two Autonomous Activators feed in gravel/sand/dust and shake it for me on their own (as controlled by on/off levers.)

I’m going to eventually need a vacuum hopper to suck in the stuff produced (so far, it’s just me standing in the house doing stuff and absorbing what’s produced) and to move it off or make another one elsewhere with more space to point more automatic machines at it.

Yet More Future Projects. No clue where I’m going to have room for that though.

The recipes though, require quite a bit of food/crop variety and animal products…


My dinky little farm also needs to expand out into a proper crop-growing space with rows and a fruit tree orchard.

The Sprinkler I installed is really quite nifty though.

It apparently waters stuff in a radius surrounding itself, so there shouldn’t be any more irrigation channels needed in the future.

It certainly encourages tall grass to grow very very quickly – which is great for getting a big selection of all the seeds and crops and fruit tress that Pam’s HarvestCraft mod apparently has.

I found a wild strawberry the other day, and promptly planted seeds of it. There’s an avocado growing too.

Then as beet and blueberry and coconut fell into my inventory, I realized I really really needed more space.

More cobblestone floor extension soon(TM.)

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