Week 28/2022: A nightmare on Scoby Street

Week of 11 July 2022

A pink and orange sunrise sky over the beach
A nice way to start the week

Nightmare on Scoby Street

A scoby, if you’re unfamiliar with the world of kombucha, is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It’s the thing that turns the sugar in the kombucha tea brew into kombucha. It’s a thick, slimy, flat pancake-type thing that is made mostly of cellulose and includes the yeast and bacteria that create the fermentation process. When you brew your kombucha tea, you add in one of these to the mix, leave it a couple of weeks, and next time you check it, you’ll have kombucha and a new baby scoby on top. Yay!

If you’re not actively brewing kombucha, you can keep your spare scobys in a big jar submerged in some extra kombucha tea that you’ve remembered to make. This is called a scoby hotel. And over time, they grow more scobys. Mine have been resting in their hotel for a couple of years . . .

I know I said I was leaving the kombucha (thing 5) until September, but I decided to take look at the scoby hotel this week to see if it was still okay.

I was horrified!

Just like my injured shoulder that I’d left for two years before seeking treatment, the scoby hotel was in a very bad state and wasn’t going to improve without intervention.

This was dire indeed. All of the liquid had dried out and the scobys had turned black!

A large jar half filled with black circular disks and covered with a muslin cloth
The tragic scoby hotel

The situation called for immediate action. I could see that the bottom one, maybe two still looked like proper scobys that might have a chance of surviving, and I decided I’d try and save them.

A dried up scoby (shrivelled yellow disc) that is black around the edges
The underside

So I brewed up some more kombucha tea, which is just green tea and raw sugar, and decided to sacrifice one of my older bottles of brew (dated May 2020) to make a new scoby hotel and see if I could rescue these scobys.

While I was waiting for the tea to brew, I checked the notes I had about making a scoby hotel. It said “after two weeks it is safe to cover it with a plastic lid”.

Mine was still covered with the muslin cloth it had always been covered with.

It went on to say, “every four to six weeks, discard a little kombucha from the jar and add some new sugared tea”.

I had not read that part.

“Ideally, you want about double the amount of liquid as the amount of scoby mass.”

How about half a jar of scoby mass and no liquid?

A large jar with yellow liquid covered with a muslin cloth
The salvage attempt

I’m not sure if what I’ve done will be enough to bring the little reasonably healthy looking scobys back to life or if I’ve killed the lot of them. I’m going to give them a couple of weeks and see if they respond to their new environment or if I’ll have to put a call out for a new scoby to adopt.

Fingers crossed!

22 for 2022 update

Dealing with the scoby disaster (which my autocorrect kindly replaces with “scabby” every time I write it, which isn’t actually that far from what some of it looked like) means I’ve taken one thing off the “parked” list and made progress on it.

I also completed the profile writing course (thing 19) and started the romance writing course (thing 20). I didn’t sign up for that to advance any great dreams of pursuing romance writing as a career but I thought learning about developing characters’ emotions and psychological growth might be useful for when I’m writing life stories. Maybe, maybe not, but I think writers of any genre would be able to learn something from finding out about other genres, so I’m interested to see where this is heading.

I spent a bit of time on my instruction manual (thing 12), which, the more I think about it, is a term I don’t like any more than “handbook”. It’s more a record of the things I’ve learned and picked up from different places and want to keep in one handy guidebook to remember to do those things. I don’t know what to call it. Does it even need a name? Who says everything has to have a name? It’s my thing and I can do what I want with it.

22 for 2022 summary

  • Things completed to date: 7 (8, 10, 11, 13, 18, 19, 22)
  • Things completed this week: 19
  • Things I worked on this week: 4: (5, 12, 19, 20, 21)
  • Things in progress: 5 (1, 5, 12, 20, 21)
  • Things not started: 2 (14, 17)
  • Things that are parked until the end of September: 6 (2, 3, 4, 6, 15, 16)
  • Things I’m not going to do: 2 (7, 9)

What do I want to do next week?

Very much the same as this week. Fixing my shoulder, doing the INTP work and going through the romance writing course. The physio, who I’m told is a shoulder guru, cancelled my appointment for next week due to illness so that’s going to have to wait another week. In the mean time, I have some other exercises to do, so it’s just a minor delay.

Weekly summary

What was the best thing about this week?

I was very excited to receive some books in the mail this week, one from a friend who ordered it for me and had it sent to my house, and one a beautiful photobook of Tasmania’s West Coast by a photographer friend. They both came on the same day. Excitement!

What did I learn this week?

I sat in on a wonderful webinar with Susan Moylan Coombs of the Gaimariagal Group in the Sydney northern beaches area. Susan spoke of things that extended my understanding of the connection Aboriginal people have with the world and to everything on the earth, and how the western construct of wellbeing doesn’t fit with being a spiritual being. It was a deeply moving and thought-provoking presentation that further informed my thinking about how I can walk more gently on the planet and find my own sense of connection.

What I’m reading this week

  • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
  • Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain
  • Building a Life Worth Living by Marsha M Linehan

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 7): 7
  • No phone at breakfast (Goal = 7):7
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I did controlled breathing (Goal = 7): 7
  • No phone at lunch time (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 5): 4
  • Finish work by 5.30 (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 6
  • Weekly review at work: Yes
  • Weekly review at home: Yes
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