I now have full iron armour and an iron sword so I feel a lot more confident. I go to about halfway through the Plains and start my shaft to the surface. I decide to to risk just pillaring straight up, hoping that I'll hear any dangers like lava or water, though I'm not sure how much damage falling gravel or sand will do. I'm lucky and make it to the surface, but it's night so I place a trapdoor over the top and go back to base to make a clock, leaving my lovely new surface shaft:
When I emerge there are a lot of sheep and I can hear a chicken. I do lots of shearing and find I've sheared a lot of grass too - I was going for seeds and didn't know you could collect grass that way:
I decide to plant a birch tree to mark my trapdoor, which won't attract attention but since there aren't any other single trees growing on the plain hopefully I'll be able to find my way home:
I find the chickens and collect some eggs and now it's already late so I head home. I make a bed and sleep in it, then since I'm really low on food I enlarge my farm area and make a small fenced area for chickens. Only one of my eggs hatches, but it's a start:
I have a little more space for wheat now and a walkway round the outside so I won't step on the crops:
Not pretty, but serviceable. While enlarging the area I break through into the ravine again, causing a small flood which I decide to leave in the corner. I also decide it would be pretty nice to make that whole wall into windows so I can see the ravine. I need sand on my next trip.
Since my clock says it's nearly daybreak I head on up again. I find some sand and decide to try to catch some chickens. What would happen if I pushed one down my shaft?
Turns out chickens can fly down ladders, and I end up with a little flock of chickens that I lead back to the chicken enclosure:
Oh, I also decided no-one will notice if a kill a few sheep, so I now have some food as well. I go back up and manage to find some sugar cane - the first lot I saw was over the border in the neighbouring forest, so I can't get it. But I decide that the beach at the edge of a biome counts as part of that biome (it's right in the distance in this shot):
I find some cave entrances and do a bit of exploring - not very exciting at first, but another one goes quite deep and I manage to collect an ender pearl and a few arrows and bones, and a spider eye (was hoping for string):
I get lost a bit - I always get lost in caves, but use dead-end blocking and following my torches (I mostly put them on the right) to get back to the entrance:
I mark the cave entrances with torches - they'll be handy if I want to get some sheep underground later.
When I get back it's nightfall again, but I decide to wait rather than risk getting lost again. When it's light I head home, and realise I now have enough diamonds to make a full set of armour and a sword, but I decide to save them until I can enchant them.
I use the sand I collected to make glass and make a - not very successful - start on my glass wall:
I plant my very pathetic amount of sugar cane next to my water hole:
It's a start anyway. I'll need plenty of sugar cane to make paper for books, and that reminds me I haven't found cows yet. Or maybe there were some in my original biome - I'll check that soon as I didn't look around all that much before tunnelling down, too occupied with getting wood.
I decide to continue my tunnel to the South, past my farm area, and quite soon find Forest - a continuation of the Forest Hills I've started in, and doesn't really count as a separate biome. A short while later it turns into Plains, which is probably the same Plains I found to the West. I need to do a bit more scouting about above ground, mapping out the size of my biomes. Or I could do that below ground, making a grid of tunnels. That's probably the safer option, though time-consuming and tedious. I'll start making some rail tracks soon I think, along my main tunnels.
I'm hoping to find Taiga, Jungle, and Desert. If I find any villages I think I need to stay away from them, unfortunately, but Jungle or Desert temples are fair game. Best of all I want to find a Stronghold, but that will probably be a long way from now. I also need to make a diamond pickaxe to mine some obsidian, so I can make a Nether Portal and get some blaze rods etc. Not absolutely urgent, but something to keep in mind. I have plenty of obsidian around anyway.
I decide that for my next session I'll try to tunnel out a lot more in all four directions, and put in my main trainlines, so that I get a better idea of what's around me and can prioritise where to go. Maybe to around 1000 blocks in each direction for a start.