Minecraft: Agrarian Skies – Blood Wood Trees, Water-Like Stuff of Many Colors and Cats (#UpGoerFive)

It has come to my attention that I might be using too hard words for someone not playing the same game as me.

If someone can explain “how to go to space” like we’re 5, or ask “what are you all playing” with simple words, I am sure I can do the same.

So this next part will use pictures and easy words.


First of all, here is my baby cat being a cat. Of all the places to stand, the bed is always the first pick.


Push it off the bed, and you guessed it, it will sit on somewhere else and block that. I can’t open the chest now. *sigh*

I had a way too exciting time the other day.

It starts with me thinking that it would be a good idea to get around to growing the tree that grows the other way around – a blood wood tree.

Breaking its leaves gives tiny pieces of a red-colored rock, which can carry power, and which I need to make more things that run by themselves.


So I climbed up to a tall place, which just happened to be outside, near the rest of my growing trees and placed the baby tree.

I made it grow fast with fine pieces of the hard things that are inside a person’s body.

Then I stared and could not believe my eyes. (Totally forgetting to take a picture at this point.)

The tree was huge. The middle part was 2 by 2 blocks. It had grown probably 30 blocks straight down, right THROUGH rock and wood and god knows what else.


This is me, nervous, carefully looking down at the tree, when I finally came back to my senses. Boy, it sure is dark down there.

On the bright side, this was maybe not a bad way to move down from the ground floor, so to speak, and get to build lower than usual. (Building stairs going up are easy. Stairs going down when you can fall into nothing and die are a lot harder to manage.)

Being really scared of falling and losing everything, I took care to put all my stuff in a chest first and only brought not important stuff with me. Like lots of rocks. To build with.


Then I tied some sticks together and went down down down ever so carefully, onto the blood wood leaves.


Under the world as we know it…

This sight is both amazing and makes me want to wet my pants.

Tearing my eyes away, I began placing rock after rock, building from the leaves out to form the beginning of a floor.


It turned out that this ended up quite near the back area where my animals were, so I made some rock stairs up to lead to it too.

(Also, always having to climb straight up and down some easily broken sticks scares me to death. Give me normal stairs any time of day.)

Now more or less safe, I started the slow work of carefully knocking to pieces the big old tree.


In a way, this part almost felt like the normal game, where you always go under the ground and meet “fun” in dark places. It had that step-by-step feeling of being in a strange world and looking carefully around each corner, watching where you walked.


Man, this could be any other world, in any old mine under the ground.

I also kept telling myself I couldn’t keep doing this and had to eventually make something that could deal with this for me.


Seriously dark at night. Almost done with the tree at last.

Of course, I didn’t learn from just doing it once. I just HAD to try it again. In the same place, which I already had the feeling wasn’t the best of places to decide to grow it.

This time, chance wasn’t with me.

It only grew 20 blocks down, and went wide, knocking out a big part of the wood floor where other trees were growing, and just missing the places I kept water.


It also took out one of the blocks that was holding very hot rock, which, thank god, didn’t come out and burn everything.

I was still not pleased since that piece took quite a bit of time and trouble to make. And there’s that whole breaking of already-built things that I have to come back later and fix? No, just no. That’s just wrong.

Well, that’s definitely the last time I’m growing this here.


Me. The second tree. Staring. Sick of working. Cleaning up everything that went wrong. Much sad.

Long story short, there was a lot of rock floor building. And taking breaks. And more rock floor building.

At some point, I made a box that could make 16 blocks of rock floor at a time. But it was still hard to place and turn on and then move it to the next bit and so on.

Then I broke it by trying to make it better. Instead of holding 64 pieces of rock and growing them out 16 at a time, the new box could hold 1 piece of any block in 16 different places, which meant WAY too much time putting rock in the box.

I didn’t have enough red-colored rock to make another. (I mean, that was WHY I started this whole stupid blood wood tree business to begin with. Mood: Annoyed.)

Back went the box into the chests in the house. Back I went to building by hand.

Eventually, I had a rock floor just a few blocks lower than the wood floor where my normal trees were growing. This was going to be the next place I would try growing the crazy blood wood tree. Far out and away into the nothing, where nothing important could be broken.


Looks better. Sort of.

Still not pretty. But hey, if it works, it works. Pretty can come later.


This is one of my new favorite things.

The grey box, given power, can cut down an entire tree on its own.

The lit thing under it gives it power through hot water, so hot that it turns into the air-like state.

Which means it, in turn, needs something to burn and water.

The water is already in place from the other grey box in the back, joined to the lit thing.

When I want it to work, I come down and bring stuff to burn and place it in by hand.

Power rushes through everything, I grow the baby tree and the grey box gets to cutting. Fast. Very very fast.

So fast I can’t take a picture of it, I can only show you the remains of the tree getting smaller and smaller down there.


You can even ask the box to keep or break the leaves.


Oh yeah, give me more of that red stuff.

In other news, I finally finished making the job of getting water-like stuff of different colors into a hard block form less annoying.


We begin with many pieces of rock of different colors.

They start as big pieces, and need to be broken into small pieces, and then finally, into even tinier pieces.

(You could just go without and throw the big pieces into the fire, but you get less stuff in the end. Me, I like more stuff.)

After each part, they have to be put back together into blocks, to be broken again. Usually, this is done by hand, 4 pieces at a time.


This little box can do it for you, given power, which yet again is being given to it from behind.


Things to be put together are placed in the chest on the left.


Out they come, from the chest on the right.

The cat in the back has no part to play. Except thinking they’re helping and getting in the way. Like all cats.


The colored blocks are brought to my other favorite thing in the whole world.


This simple yet beautiful group of boxes.

One places all the colored blocks into the chest up high. They fall into the blue box at the back.

This blue box in the back does the work of placing a colored block on the ground.

The other blue box in front has the job of breaking it into pieces.


I even gave it added power with a very strong breaking thing.

The small black box sucks in all the broken pieces and puts it in the final chest in front for me to pick up.

Repeat a couple times until we get this:


The final colored block form.

These are then brought over to the tall brown building that makes them all water-like with a very hot fire, as mentioned earlier.


Note the new glass building next to it.

All the colored water-like stuff runs into it and fills it up.


Like so.


One can read how much of each colored water-like stuff is inside from the block on the left here.


It took quite a bit of doing and trying different things, but I finally decided the least problems happened with each colored water-like stuff having its own form-making black box.

It’s all been set up so that each color runs in by themselves.

Once the form-making black boxes fill up, they cool down into a hard block form.

This then falls out the bottom and runs along the light blue lines until they wind up in the chest on the right.

Any remaining water-like stuff can be sent by hand into the glass boxes at the very bottom. These can be used again later when enough has been stored up.

The one added glass box, third from the right, is my attempt at handling water-like glass. That part handles two colors instead of just one.

There is the problem of the two colors sometimes backing up and not being able to fill the black form-making box right, so I needed somewhere for the other color to go first, just in case.

Truth is, it’s yet to be tried out to a serious breaking point. Worse case situation, I make another black form-making box for it down the road.


At the end of the whole thing, is so very many pretty colored hard blocks.

Final mood: Happy.

(As for the cats and what they’re up to, that’s for them to know and the rest of us are left to only guess.)

Minecraft: Agrarian Skies – The Fires of Industry

Oh my.

The major thing you need to know about me is that I tend to break the scales as a Bartle-style Explorer.

When confronted with a system I don’t understand, my reaction tends to be “YES, something to DO!” “Holy shit, this is so intricate and deep!” and “Time to knuckle down and figure it out and beat it into submission, reducing it into smaller and smaller principles until slow old me (and thus, anyone else) can understand it… or until it breaks and is proven to be lousy design.”

I don’t mind if it takes me longer to understand than others, or even most people.

I’m a very slow, steady and helluva persistent type of learner.

I’m not the sort to just copy a guide or walkthrough to satisfy a need and then forget about it until the next time I need something. No, I’ll copy the guide or walkthrough, but I’ll be doing my best to figure out exactly WHY that person did it that way – why it worked, while this or that didn’t.

The Agrarian Skies modpack for Minecraft feels like A Tale in the Desert, on steroids, mixed with a side helping of The Incredible Machine (not quite, but I use the example because I think more people recognize it) or more specfically, a very old game that came out in the 1980s – Rocky’s Boots (which somehow successfully taught circuits and AND, OR, NOT gates to kids by absolutely masquerading as a fun game, and it was.)


Each step of progress just opens out a dizzyingly insane universe of possibilities and MORE THINGS TO DO, MORE FUTURE PROJECTS, OMG WHERE DID THE TIME GO.

The utter coolness is that you can progress through it at a pace that is comfortable to you, especially when playing singleplayer where you don’t have to compete with anyone else, or be influenced by them (until you yourself -choose- to research online and watch videos and stuff.)


As you can see, I caved in and put a JABBA barrel (from the “Just Another Better Barrel Attempt” mod) in place of the simple vanilla Minecraft chest on my automatic cobblestone generator.

This barrel basically stores only one item, but up to 64 stacks of it (or 4096 potential cobblestone blocks.)

It can also be upgraded with structural upgrades to hold even more, if you really needed it.

At the moment, I’m quite happy with a stock of 1000-1300 readily accessible cobblestone.

The downside to this barrel, as I found out, when the Terrain Smasher block – the main workhorse of the generator – got stuck and had to be pickaxed and replaced to kickstart it back into action. I pickaxed the barrel unthinkingly to get at the Terrain Smasher and STACKS of cobblestone exploded out as the barrel popped out from the ground.

There was framerate stopping lag for a couple of tens of seconds as my ailing computer shrieked at trying to handle the inventory issues, calculating how many stacks of cobblestone could be attracted to me, how many fell into the water and floated downstream, plus how many fell into the lava and got burned up. (I really don’t want to know. I’m just thankful the barrel escaped unscathed.)

The chests in my house had to be temporarily co-opted into taking on stacks of cobblestone – and the lag was such that they were almost refusing to open for a time.

So yeah, I wouldn’t break any more barrels without offloading them first, if you can help it.


Speaking of the chests in my house, I made a desultory attempt to sort them out a little more.

Unfortunately, Agrarian Skies lacks the pretty lockers that I was using in Hexxit (which is more of a ‘fantasy realism’ sort of modpack) so it’s been chests all the way.

This particular modpack enforces a sort of ‘chest progression’ with the Iron Chests modpack. Larger capacity chests have to be upgraded with expensive metals (silver, gold, etc.) and diamonds and stuff.

Makes a certain amount of sense for the feeling of progression and achievement but is kinda horrible aesthetics-wise.

The house is really getting too small to handle the clutter. May need a new base of operations at some future point.

(I -hear- that there is a super-sophisticated futuristic storage option in the Applied Energistics modpack – which is sort of a matter/energy network that can pretty much send/transfer items on demand. I’m sure it’ll be awesome when I get to it, but when I peeked at it, it required Redstone Flux power and a whole lot of other things that I don’t think I have the mental capacity to deal with learning just yet.

So yeah, chests. They’ll still open even in a virtual power blackout.)

The coolest new thing is the Vacuum Hopper, which I finally was able to build when a chance Enderman spawned in the night, on the outer edges of territory I was expanding and failed to keep well lit.

I went after it with an axe, screaming “I want your Ender Pearl. DROP me my Ender Pearl!”

(Oh, another cool thing about this modpack is that a well-used Iguana Tweaks-leveled up Tinkerer’s Construct tool can do a fairly awesome amount of damage, so there’s no big need for any other weapon on normal mobs.)

It kindly did.

My Sieving chain is now pretty much complete (with the exception of ludicrous amounts of automation to feed stuff in automatically and get it all chained up, of course.)

I just load up my Autonomous Activators with whatever I want Sieved into metal ores and so on, and the Vacuum Hopper sucks it all in and feeds it into the large capacity Silver Chest.

I spent a while trying to figure out if it could send stuff into the two vanilla chests I was using to store Sieved products, experimenting with Itemducts, and while it did, it messed up the very particular and rather OCD arrangement I’d gotten my metal ores manually sorted into.

That was unacceptable. *nervous eye twitch*

So I settled for letting it auto-sort how it wanted into another chest, and I could come back later and cheerfully hum and manually sort things all Bhagpuss-like into the ‘proper’ arrangement JUST SO and everybody’s happy.


The next Ender Pearl went into a Vacuum Hopper for the mob grinder.


Now no drop is wasted, even when I’m not there, but merely watching mobs fall down the glass chute from a distance, cackling away to myself.

The sharp-eyed may have noticed the extra head on the pillar.

Lesson learned: When playing around with the extended map and waypoint system (accessed by pressing “M” and “B”) and seeing a “Teleport To” button and thinking to use that to get out of a hole that one got accidentally stuck in (Microblocks and fences can act a bit funny)…

…It was probably not a good idea to use the only existing waypoint called “Last Death.”

Especially since it teleports you to the EXACT coordinates of the death – aka directly on top of 5 damaging Punji Spikes, in a glass chute specifically engineered for 2 block tall mobs and people to have -nowhere- to run.

Cheaters never prosper.

At least the vacuum hopper sucked up all my items for easy retrieval.

And I learned that the vacuum hopper can also suck up XP. Hence the new tank of green Liquid XP fluid which I have no real clue how to use just yet, but I’m sure it’ll be useful down the road…

As for Tanks, there was a learning process to them too.


Seared Tanks from Tinkerer’s Construct are generally what one encounters first, as part of the Smeltery, but those can only hold 4 buckets (or 4000 mB) worth of fluid.

In the main quest book, the first step of the Fluids section is to construct three different tanks from three different mods and experiment with them to see which suits your purposes.


The Fluid Tank from Mariculture holds 16 buckets of fluid.

This is certainly an improvement over Seared Tanks. It uses copper ingots, planks and glass to construct – not too terribly expensive.


The Portable Tank from Thermal Expansion seemed promising at first.

When you scan it in the NEI, you can see that it actually comes in 4 versions, with increasing progression and cost.


It starts out at 8 buckets capacity, goes up to 16, 32 and tops off at a whopping 64 buckets.


Despite its name, it, however, does not save the fluid when the block is pickaxed and moved elsewhere manually.

I guess ‘portable’ in this case merely means ‘compact.’

Being that I’m still using a lot of manual processes, moving tanks from machine to machine by myself, instead of dealing with tubes and pipes (or Fluiducts and Itemducts) all over the place, this was not currently ideal.


The winner, for my personal tastes anyway, was OpenBlock’s Tank. (Here seen collecting milk from Mariculture’s Tank, via a Seared Faucet.)

This simplistic beauty looks great, being an essentially clear glass block containing colored fluid. It saves the amount and type of fluid that goes into it, even when pickaxed and physically moved to wherever.

One block of it holds 16 buckets.

It also cheerfully -expands- its capacity into a multiblock tank, by sheer virtue of placing other Tank blocks beside it, or stacking them together. A full 16,000 mB block will divide its capacity into 8,000 mB by placing an empty tank next to it.

It’s quite awesome to see the fluid flow, though of course, one has to be careful when arranging these tanks next to each other. Full tanks of different liquids won’t mix, but an empty one will.

It uses 4 obsidian blocks and 5 glass panes to make 2 Tanks, which isn’t terrible either.


You see, apparently you can make stone barrels, not just wood ones.

And stone barrels can hold lava.

And if you dump water on top of them, voila, obsidian!

AND they cheerfully pop right out with one right-click, rather than having to mine endlessly at a solidified block with a pickaxe.

Obsidian brick-making, who’d have thunk? For me, it’s just as addictive as brick-making was in ATITD.

(The Portable Tank above has been relegated to a simple non-moving water-storage device for me to bucket water out of and place it back in again.)


The lava, meanwhile, comes from the nearby crucibles.

Which have been upgraded to being powered by Netherrack fires.

Ever since reading the very helpful Agrarian Skies Reddit thread, one has learned that the ever helpful lava-filled Stone Barrels can produce Netherrack by right-clicking redstone on them, or even Ender Stone, by right-clicking glowstone on them.

I’m getting tired of manually loading in cobblestone, so I might figure out a way to automatically load in cobblestone soon. (Taken to an extreme, of course one can also pump the lava directly out into the stone barrels and then automate the whole process too. But that might be more trouble than it’s worth, for small amounts of obsidian.)

After all, I did do something similar already:


Behold, the Pulverizer Mark 2000.

The Igneous Extruder block seemed like too much of a pain to construct, so I went for the Terrain Smasher on vanilla cobblestone generator idea.

I glass-encased it, because…purty, you know?

The Terrain Smasher breaks up the cobblestone, and outputs it directly on top of a Crucible.

The Crucible melts the cobblestone into lava.

The lava is pumped out of the Crucible via a Fluiduct, and sent into the Magmatic Dynamo.

Which produces Redstone Flux energy from the lava, which powers the Pulverizer.

This can now be left running and self-powered for all time – though of course, I can’t resist installing shutdown levers… just in case.


Sometimes, figuring out machinery has its quirks.

I wanted an automatic dirt composter to run while I was busy collecting leaves and chopping wood and growing trees from bonemeal.

It was a bit of a struggle with the whole circuit of Chests, Itemducts, and banging on them with a Crescent Hammer to get them to flow appropriately and still remained powered.

Trying to get a more compact configuration to curve around corners ended up a struggle with levers and redstone and pneumatic servos trying to get the Itemducts powered on and functional, so I gave up eventually and went for a straight circuit.


Another odd quirk of barrels that froze me in my tracks for a while, researching other people’s videos, was the discovery that barrels will not offload their cargo from the side.

They -must-  come out through the bottom.

I’ve not tested it yet, but I’m going to assume that the same is true of the input and that they must be loaded in from the top…

This does, of course, have aesthetic implications.

Honestly, I like my humble composting shed more. But I can walk away and let this run while I do other things, so yeah.


Said other things being growing a tree in an empty swimming pool.

Ok, ok, the original intention was to expand out my humble fishing pond into something a little more respectably pond-sized.

But I had to have sufficient birch wood planks to construct the sides, and the simplest way to do it was to directly obtain the birch wood there and then.

It turned out a rather comfortable way to manually mass grow trees and harvest leaves, since it was a safe cozy room that I could jump to my heart’s content and not worry about falling over the side, and everything was well lit, so no mobs (beyond those plunging to their doom in the glass shaft in the distance.)

I gotta make me another one of these rooms just for tree-growing, I think.

Some day.


I eventually stopped tree-growing and filled it in with water.

The trick, as I learned via lots of Google research, is to put a layer of dirt just one block below the water layer, and fill only a one block surface until all the water is still, aka, become source blocks of water.

Then dig down and remove the dirt, and the water will flow down to fill the remaining layers, while not creating any currents.

Fishing is a bit easier now, though experiments with the Fishery part of the Mariculture mod will still be a while.

Some attempted in-roads into that revealed some clunky design and weird logic/naming conventions (eg. if you stand out of the water and fish, you get fish with male and female traits, that are used for breeding. However, these are ‘dead’ and yet cannot be eaten?

If you stand and fish -in- water, either completely submerged – using snorkels and scuba gear or whatever – or as I figured out later, standing in just one block of water with head above water and feet in water, you get ‘raw’ fish. These ‘raw fish’ are used to construct other more complex mariculture equipment like fish feeders and automatic feeders, and can be eaten straight out of hand.


Doesn’t it make more sense to have breeding type of fish be ‘live’ and fished from within the water? And then the dead and raw fish ought to be fished from outside of the water, and ought to be possible to be eaten raw, or cooked and eaten – currently it’s not possible to cook Mariculture fish – and used to construct the complex mariculture equipment?)

Even the creator of the mod admits it’s due for a bit of a revamp.

In its current state, it still has some promise and potential, but I’ll have to chase down a whole separate path of Mariculture-only equipment to do it. And that’s not something front and center on the agenda when I can work with other mods that interrelate with each other more.

Bees, apparently, do everything that fishes can, and better. So they say. Not that I’ve had time to go down that crazy-making path either.


You know what’s really crazy-making?

The front of my house, where Pam’s HarvestCraft mod has taken over and run rampant.

I -meant- to create a big square of dirt, that I could turn into a tidy organized farm.

However, since composting takes so long and I was distracted doing other things, the square courtyard had been left only half-filled with dirt.

I’d installed a sprinkler system to water the couple of crops from seeds collected from the tall grass around the previous farm…

Turns out I’d chosen to place this dirt square on the bulk of a Forest biome (with only one small corner of it Plains).

Presumably between that, and the Sprinkler watering everything, there’s Tall Grass -everywhere-.

And in Pam’s HarvestCraft mod, where there’s Tall Grass, there’s wild crops of every imaginable variety, wild saplings that will grow into fruit trees by themselves, and when you clear Tall Grass, you get seeds of the crops of every imaginable variety.

Every time I get a seed, in order not to worry about storing it in my ever flowing chests, I just hoe a patch in the dirt and plunk it in…

…now I’ve got an unorganized humongous square of the most diverse crops ever (hooray for no crop rotation needed, eh?), fruit trees every which direction, and STILL no end of Tall Grass.

I am more or less resigned to treating this place following the in-game lore/premise as the first ever reclaimed part of the natural world.

From this central location of odd factories, the new mortal creator will spring forth and generate a new world, complete with hand-crafted rivers, forests and mountains… like Slartibartfast’s glaciers, and this small patch of wild is only the beginning…

It really feels like Noah’s Ark in here, but for plants. I’m collecting one of every possible type of flora to re-populate the world or something.

It does, however, mean I need yet another courtyard for more organized crop planting/harvesting, possibly automated, and yet another courtyard for more organized fruit trees, with possibly automated fruit pickers.

(And if I want to play with bees, I think room for apiaries and bees to interact with other Forestry trees need to be made somewhere around here too.)

Le sigh.


Still in progress is the High Oven ore-processing chain.

Well, the High Oven is done, and it’s a beauty.

From Tinkerer’s Steelworks, this is an upgrade of the Smeltery and very reminiscent of the great variety of Furnaces (Blast, Hades, etc. all with unique operating parameters) one can find in a Tale in the Desert.

It’s a multiblock structure, built tall for higher temperatures and higher capacity, and requires Charcoal Blocks to get it up to super-operating temperatures in a fast amount of time. Feeding in normal Charcoal is like trickling in the power and will take you forever and will probably not even get you to the temperature desired.


This thing is a monster of high octane large capacity production.

It converts ore into 3 ingots, where the Smeltery only converts it into 2 ingots worth, and the vanilla Minecraft furnace only produces one.

It takes so long to heat and cool down though, that you probably don’t want to just do one ore type at a time…


I was running out of things to throw into it at the end. Even sand went in for molten glass. Note the many different colors of fluids all stacked on top of each other.

The high oven doesn’t produce alloys, so one is safe, and the Smeltery still has a use.


OMFG. Where am I going to PUT all this stuff?

There’s plenty of potential for automating the whole process, of course. Something I neglected to do because I like building things piecemeal and figuring them out that way.

The immediate problem, naturally, is figuring out how and where to funnel all these molten fluids into holding tanks, and from there, funnel them into casting basins for metal blocks, or casting tables for ingots. Preferably at speeds and quantity faster than one at a time.

This is going to take some thinking…

There is also a Deep Tank as a companion multiblock structure to the High Oven, which I also need to get around to building since it’s some Agrarian Skies quest or other.

The Deep Tank apparently can store all these fluids from the High Oven, with the potential of a larger structure to have more surface area for drains and fluiducts to move things from one place to another.

Still working out how it’s all going to be arranged…


Finally, like an idiot, I thought I’d take a baby step into opening up the Magic quest section and faithfully followed instructions and created the Thaumonomicon from the Thaumcraft 4 mod.

It turns out that a) There’s a complete separate Blood Magic mod, that can be quite dangerous and uses up life essence/hearts, which I want to dabble with because it can produce chicken and squid spawn eggs – two animals I’m having a shortage of.

And b) the other line is Sky Shards and the Thaumcraft 4 mod is INSANELY huge….


This is the Thaumonomicon book.

7 Sections – covering basics, wands, alchemy, golemancy and god knows what else.


There are pages and pages of esoteric info like this to work one’s way through.

It’s insane.

It’s incredible.

One is not going to have nothing to do for a very very long time.

(Oh, I hear there’s a WvW tournament happening, back in GW2. I guess I should get back to that too, since a new week is out and it’s no longer walkover ‘get your alts 100% WvW map exploration’ week.)