Early in the week I realized I was low on mob drops. Despite me playing on Normal mode, hostile mobs have proved rare for me to come by. I think it has something to do with how far I have my render distance. Because my laptop is rather slow I have to keep the render distance at the smallest option, 2 chunks. From what I've read, mobs only spawn in the range of rendered chunks. A little math says a whole four hostile mobs should spawn, and that's no good for me.
I went ahead and used sand, sandstone, and acacia to build the mob grinder. I think I should add a second and third layer to it, since my spawn rates are destined to be low as long as I'm doing the minimum two chunks.
I also started growing acacia trees en masse, since I'll be needing plenty more for my future builds. I even tamed a decent horse, giving it iron horse armor I had found somewhere. It doesn't have a name yet.
The castle has gotten a lot of detail work done on it. Two of the rooms on the first floor are still pretty empty but the rest of it seems to have the basics finished. There's so much more that can be done here, but I think I'm about ready to begin the second floor. I'll detail things more later on.
The Great Hall/throne room:
Typical ladder to the upper floors:
And the front, which I don't have a design for yet.
Right now, what I really need is to get a powerful production of supplies going. I have redstone but not enough to make the contraptions I could go for. At the moment I'm starting to do basic resource farming at a village, so I might just make that my base of operations for now. Recall that I don't want this to be a redstone-heavy map. It's true I don't. Nevertheless, practical redstone to build up my supplies would be pretty helpful.