The grain silo, situated adjacent to the barn.

The grain silo, situated adjacent to the barn.

I play Minecraft differently depending on my mood. Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed I don’t want to automate anything, or go search for rare items, or explore anywhere, or engineer anything with redstone. Sometimes all I want to do is make things look pretty.

Case in point: in the last week or so I have spent quite a lot of time adding little touches to my farm area. I built what I thought was a pretty cool looking barn (and it turns out to be functional, too). But something was missing. It took only a little looking around online for me to realize that what my barn needed was a grain silo.

The Grain Silo

I chose to build a classic cylindrical grain silo, and I chose to build it using different materials than I used for my barn. I used fir wood from Biomes O’ Plenty to achieve a weathered look. The cap is made from wood slabs painted in Ender IO’s painting machine to look like blocks of platinum (from the Base Metals mod by jriwanek). Platinum gives it all a very shiny, chrome-like look. The pipe down the side is likewise wooden fence posts painted to look like blocks of platinum. The ladder up the side is made from dark iron, again from Ender IO.

The grain silo is a cylinder (or as close as you can get in Minecraft to a cylinder) with a diameter of three blocks (so if you are looking at one side of the exterior, it will look seven blocks wide). The inside is hollow. It is also empty except for six barrels from Simple Barrels by workshopcraft. These barrels are used to store vanilla wheat as well as six crops from Pam’s Harvestcraft: oats, barley, rye, corn (maize for those of you across the pond), and rice. I know I said I just wanted to make things pretty, but something isn’t really pretty unless there is some functionality. Yes, that’s a philosophical statement, and I’d be happy to discuss it, if you like.

I have hooked up Ender IO item conduits to these barrels along with remote awareness upgrades. This makes it so that I can access all my grain remotely from my (so far) two inventory panels (I have one in the barn and one in the house’s basement).

A Terraced Garden for Pam’s Harvestcraft Trees

Rather than flattening everything out, I have tried as much as possible to build with the natural curves of the land. As I have collected the trees from Pam’s Harvestcraft, I wanted an orderly way to display them, so I converted a hill opposite the main house into a terraced tree garden. The building materials include alabster (from Environmental Tech, by ValkyrieofNight), vanilla polished diorite, and golden beryl lamps from Silent’s Gems (by SilentChaos512).

Adding Paths, Lattice Coverings, and Lamps to the Garden

Finally, I have been trying to add paths and other signs of civilization while maintaining the original natural beauty of my setting. For paths, I have used hardened stone pavers (again from Environmental Tech). I am in the process of decorating everything with flowers, bushes, and shrubs in an orderly fashion.

My original 9×9 garden has come a long way since I started this instance. Now, to have at least a dedicated 2×2 plot for each crop in Pam’s Harvestcraft (in addition to the vanilla crops and one or two crops from other mods), I have multiple 9×9 garden areas, each with dark oak paths and surrounded by alabaster pavers and birch fences. Additionally, I recently added a lattice covering (made from dark oak fences) in which are embedded more lamps from Silent’s Gems (my goal was to eliminate all torches).

Along these new paths I plan to have “street lamps.” I happen to really like the look of the vanilla redstone lamps, but unlike the lamps of Silent’s Gems, you cannot invert them so that they are always on. You can just place a lever on top, but that’s kind of tacky. So, to conceal the source of the redstone signal, I have used Ender IO. Specifically, I am using redstone conduit disguised with conduit facade painted as fence posts and grass blocks. Under the grass block facade, I have attached a lever in “on” position. Maybe I’ll connect all these lamps to a daylight sensor in the future, but for now they are always on.

Looking back at home base so far. There's a bridge in the background that I haven't talked about yet.

Looking back at home base so far. There’s a bridge in the background that I haven’t talked about yet.