Banished photo essay: 25 years of farming and surviving harsh winters

Ian Birnbaum at

After three years of good crops, the plum orchard is cut down to relocate to the outskirts of town. A new market will be built in this space.

Though it is a blight on the landscape, town planners hope that this mine will provide coal and iron for the next hundred years.

The town decides the time has come for a permanent church. The building is the most expensive erected by the villagers so far.

Wealthy, well-established families have been saving the land between the schoolhouse and the town’s first houses for a city hall. With its construction, new census data and records will be available to town planners.

A dry summer results in a pathetic pumpkin harvest this year. Four people died in the resulting food shortage.

Three harsh winters in a row kill off many of the town’s older citizens, filling the new graveyard to capacity. The only priest, 24-year-old Ferricky, is always busy.

The brainchild of a now-disgraced town planner, this riverside housing development was more costly than anticipated. The resulting firewood shortage caused the deaths of three farmers during the next winter. Their absence caused a food shortage that killed four more people. Click here to view at 720p.

After years of waiting, a livestock merchant arrives in town. The supply barn is emptied to purchase a mating pair of cows to start a herd.

Harvest time is a busy season for the town market.

Nestled into the side of a nearby hill, this camera captured the development of the town center over the course of 25 years. Click here to view at 720p.

When I finally left Dolothia, it seemed to be on the cusp of thriving. After rough winters and poor decisions, the population was booming and crops growing strong. Even on the best of days, though, Dolothia remains one or two bad harvests away from disaster. — Reporter Ian Birnbaum, summer 25 A.B.