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Last week Stewart grabbed a freshly bottled kombucha and said it was good even though it wasn’t carbonated. It hadn’t built up carbonation yet because I had just bottled it less than 24 hours prior. Carbonation is the result of carbon dioxide building up as a byproduct of the fermentation process and that requires three things, one of which is time. That got me thinking about tips for carbonated kombucha.

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Besides time, sugar is another critical element of carbonation. If you are bottling kombucha plain – with no added fruit, juice, or sugar – you need to bottle it while it is still sweet in order to achieve a good carbonation. I generally taste my kombucha to see if the brewing time is complete and like to bottle it just as it turns the corner for sweet to sweet and tangy. (I also have a theory on all ferments that there is a window at which these guys are the most alive and therefore the most beneficial to the body. This applies to kombucha, milk kefir, vegetables, etc. and that window is after they are fully inoculated but before they get overly tangy. But that’s just my theory.)

Even after you remove kombucha from the SCOBY it continues to ferment due to the inoculation of bacteria and yeasts. These will feed on the sugar remaining in the kombucha to create carbonation during the second, bottled, fermentation.

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The final tip I have for you is to make an effort to get a bit of the yeast dregs from the bottom of the fermentation vessel into the bottles themselves. Not everyone likes the texture of these but a little goes a long way and they pretty much sink to the bottom and go unnoticed. You can see a bit of the yeast floating in the bottom of the bottle pictured below. IMG_6883 (2)

The yeasts play an important role in creating plenty of carbon dioxide for an active, bubbly second fermentation.

So those are my tips for a crisp, bubbly plain kombucha that will cost you pennies on the dollar when compared to the store-bought counterpart. Happy brewing!

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Last week Stewart put up a car gate and two homemade walking gates and thereby completed the fencing of the pasture. If you walk around the property you’ll find homemade gates on the pasture, the original two acres, the chicken field, and the pallet garden. I only mention that because I am kind of a sucker for homemade gates.

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The morning after he completed the gates, we all headed out for milking time so that we could release Abby and Daisy and let them roam. We’ve had Abby and Daisy for nearly a year now and have picketed Abby in close proximity to their shelter, water, and milking stand. Daisy followed her Mama around up until recently and never needed picketing.

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So after Elijah milked, he let her off the milking stand and she walked around slightly confused. A week on and they still tend to stay close to their previous picketing space. However, they seem to be wandering a bit further in the pasture as they become acquainted with the freedom to roam three acres.

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Goats are not like cows in that they seem to like to eat a little bit of everything – from grass to weeds to brush and trees. We have long discussed layering in other true grass-eaters like a cow or sheep to make the most of the three acre pasture, but that is a ways off and Lord willing.

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Since we let them off we have gotten reports from the boys as they go out to pasture. “Abby was down at the over spill!” or “The goats went all the way to the other end of the pasture with us!” is the breaking news as the boys swing open the screen door.

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We are thankful for the help we’ve gotten with the fence from the community here.

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Ultimately we are thankful to the Lord for His faithfulness and sovereignty in all homestead matters. The process of growing a homestead by hand while raising these five little blessings is surely one of the greatest educations in waiting on the Lord and trusting in His sovereignty that I have yet to encounter. Fence, goats, pastures, and milk have been nothing compared to the spiritual gifts that we have been given through the process.