Kombucha progress

My kombucha has finished its first fermentation. I bottled it up today to start its second round of fermentation.

Nothing added to these bottles. I still found the growing SCOBY interesting to observe. The floating bits are fascinating. Some of them attach to the side of the jar, others just kinda float suspended in the liquid. One day the bits might be on the bottom; the next they’ve risen to the top.

That’s the new baby SCOBY that grew. Looks quite ugly. It went back into the jar once I was finished filling the bottles. It’s funny, I drink tea everyday but have to buy more to make my next batch of kombucha. All my tea is flavored or has additions that render it not suitable for fermenting (currently Earl Grey, Arctic Fire, Hot Chai, and herbal Apple Orchard). Yum, more tea. I’m excited to see where this will lead.

Adventures in Kombucha Brewing

 

Anyone else love kombucha? I first had some several years ago while living in Baltimore (found it at Whole Foods) and quickly grew to love the sweet/tart taste. Since then my interest in making some myself has grown. It’s not quite as common in Brisbane as it is in the US however there is a local company (Buchi Kombucha) that makes the tasty drink on a commercial scale and yet still sells at the local farmer markets. I bought my kit last weekend and started my brew on Monday.

In my kit was a glass jar containing some started culture, a SCOBY, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, sugar, tea, and a cotton cover. By the way, who likes my attempt at adding text to a photo? Need to work on this a bit.

There’s my SCOBY! Looks like a gross gelatinous mass but it’s what causes the goodness to grow. Think of it like sourdough starter or friendship bread; get a little bit from someone else and you can make all you want.

After making what amounts to simple syrup, the tea needed to seep for 10-20 minutes. Clips are so useful in the kitchen. Not just for keeping bags closed, but also for brewing large amounts of tea.

Fill it up to the top! Ok, more like 2 inches/5cm below the top and cover with cloth to keep out dust/fruit flies/whatever.  About water: most instructions say to use spring or purified water since too much chlorine and fluoride might kill the SCOBY. As much as I didn’t want to kill this project I also didn’t want to carry this much water back from the store. A little bit of googling and I found someone that has been using tap water (from Detroit!) and getting good results. I filtered my Brisbane tap water through a Britta filter, boiled it and let it cool. Don’t put hot water on your SCOBY!

Day 1 and it was growing well!

Day 2 and it’s looking stranger and stranger!

Day 3, look at those beautiful bits.

Day 4 and the tentacles are attaching to the side of the jar.

I find myself peering into the jar several times a day; it’s neat that something is alive and growing in there. I’ve got a few more days until the first fermentation is ready to taste. And then maybe a second fermentation to get some bubbly action going on.

Anyone else have experience growing fermented foods? What’s the weirdest fermented thing you’ve ever eaten? Any suggestions for useful photoshop brush presets? Seriously had issues adding it to that photo. It helped once I got off a random adjustment layer and onto a dedicated layer.

Bedroom Progress

Four months and we’re still settling in. We bought some nice wooden side tables from someone off of Gumtree (the Australian equivalent of Craigslist). I’m still looking for lamps as the overhead light is too much for nighttime reading. No bed frame yet either, just the mattress directly on the carpet. I still have that huge blanket I crocheted while living in Baltimore.

 

 

On the weekends we like to wander around the city and find places that are new to us. Usually that includes a local bar with good brews on tap. A few weeks ago while out and about I found some European size pillow shams while checking out a thrift store. So naturally the search was on for some inserts. I finally found some that were on sale for the Queen’s Birthday holiday. They’re goose feather.

 

Didn’t think I would ever buy feather pillows, but they’re supposed to last a lot longer than the poly fill stuff and hold shape better. There’s times I would much rather buy something that’s a bit more expensive and going to last a lot longer than buy something that will go into a landfill in 6 months.

 

These shams were a lucky find. Simple with a nice texture and pattern.

 

 

So far so good. The new pillows add some firmness and are great for reading in bed. I will say that right out of the bag they do have that typical feather smell. (Same smell as a down filled sleeping bag or puffy coats.) It’s just slightly noticeable. This is the first time we’ve used pillows of this size and type so I’ll post an update in a few months about how they’re holding up. If anyone if Australia wants to buy some of these pillow inserts I bought them online here and they’re still on sale as I post this.

Do people in Australia wear down filled puffy coats? I used to own one when we lived in Philadelphia where the winter was cold, snowy and windy.  It was nice and warm until it got ripped apart.  I swear that crochet ripple blanket will last until I’m at least 50 and maybe longer. It’s huge and should fit a king size bed. Took forever to make. Apparently I didn’t blog about it? Anyhow it’s on Ravelry here if you’re interested in seeing my notes on it. 

Strange Animals (or animals not found in the wilds of North America)

A few weeks ago, Mr. EG and I visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Mainly because everyone kept wanting to see pictures of koalas. Turns out it was a nice relaxing afternoon outing.

First the birds…

Tawny Frogmouth

 

Kookaburra

Kookaburra

 

Cassowary

Cassowary

 

Emu

Emu

Now the kangaroo’s…

And everybody’s favorite the Koalas…

Those koalas have very sharp claws! One of my favorite sections was the native birds (the snakes were really cool too). The coloring on the feathers was so beautiful. No good pictures of those as most were moving around or hidden in the shadows. I kept saying that the colors and patterns would provide plenty of inspiration for me if/when I start dying yarn.

So the question is would I go again? If I have visitors, yes. If we have small children, yes as it’s great for families. Otherwise, it was nice to visit once but not sure if we’ll go back without a reason. But keep in mind that we’re not really into the touristy things. We’re more of the hiking/camping type of people. We would rather do something than see something.