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It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been hard at work remaking the Ellipsis logo to embody the mission statement, drying herbs, canning jelly and jam, and experimenting with baked goods.  The most exciting thing I’ve canned up is lavender jelly. It’s a beautiful pink color. There is something magical about jelly. I paired it with clotted cream and vanilla bean scones. Add a cup of tea and it’s perfection. The photo below shows the pink lavender jelly and the dark purple black raspberry jam on the vanilla bean scones with clotted cream.

Homeade Jelly and Scones

I still have plans for a borage mint jelly, a cherry jam, and a Queen Anne’s Lace jelly recipe I found that looks very intriguing. Also I dried some mint to make a mint tea and I’m coming up with a summer blend that I think will be a delicious iced tea. So far I’ve been able to grow everything myself or acquire it locally. It’s a good feeling to support local businesses while being as self sustaining as possible.  Soon I will have to figure out exactly what I’m doing for labels. The new logo is finished, but I’ve decided not to reveal it online until everything is ready to launch. There is also the issue of business licensing when selling food. I’m doing research on what Illinois requires.

How are all of you working to live sustainable lives? I would love to hear about it.

LED PhotogarphyAlso I’ve recently started selling my photography on Etsy to raise money toward Ellipsis. If you have any money to spare (the prints are $15 and $18) please help. The link to the Etsy shop is here.

LED Photography will not be my only fundraiser. I’m also working on and Indie Go Go campaign that should be very exciting! Keep an eye out for different ways to help. I know money is tight for everyone, but I really appreciate any support. This business idea means the world to me.

Another great way you could help me out is if you have any books you no longer want/need. I need to increase my stock by  . . . a lot. If you have any unwanted/unneeded books please let me know. A donation of books would be wonderful, but I will also buy them from you if you would like.

And a third way is to give me access to your gardens. I need herbs, fruits, and vegetables to make my teas, jams, and baked goods. And of course I need guinea pigs to try these things!

And spread the word! I don’t know where we are going to end up at this point, but I’m only giving the job search two more months before I just make a decision and start this thing. If you know anyone who would have any interest in this type of business in any way, please let them know I am working to get it started and all support is appreciated.

Thank you so much for the support I’ve already been given in all sorts of ways! Enjoy your day! Summer is fleeting . . .

Summer

Things are going well I think. I only wish the proper direction would reveal itself. I have been researching ways to raise money to start a physical Ellipsis as well as the best and least expensive ways to create sustainable ways of operating a business. Here in Galena there are possibilities of renting a store front. The biggest obstacle is how to grow enough Camelia to make enough tea. The answer I think, is to build a geodesic dome. It’s a pretty amazing concept. Essentially a greenhouse, it is a dome built from triangles. The idea of them is that they are entirely self-sustaining, meaning everything from the heating to the water flow is all created within once introduced. And since they are built of wood and polycarbonate panels with UV glazing, it can withstand very severe weather conditions. All this; however, is a very big undertaking and would require either the use of or purchase of property.  Where as if the move to California happens I could grow a whole field of Camelia right in the open.

I am fascinated with the idea of building a structure that could grow fresh food all year round. It would be like creating a paradise with the perfect temperature all year round. A little oasis. According to growing spaces, a company out of Colorado that manufactures geodesic dome kits, a dome that is 22 feet in diameter can produce food for 4 to 5 people all year round. Imagine if every community had a large geodesic dome to grow food. Our food would be entirely in our hands. Radish Relish and Black Raspberry Jam

Anyroad, I made some delicious black raspberry jam yesterday. I did not use pectin and it turned out lovely. A little softer than typical jam, but delicious none the less. And also a batch of radish relish. I love how pink it is. The radish mix and watermelon radishes I planted really made for a pretty relish. It’s good on crackers or a sandwich like regular relish. I will share the recipe for the relish with you.

Radish Relish

3 cups stemmed radishes
2 large ribs celery
1 large red onion
2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tbls mustard seed
2 tsp dill seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 cup vinegar
2 tbls prepared horseradish

Put the radishes, celery and onion through the coarse blade of a grinder, or chop them finely. Mix with remaining ingredients and allow to stand three hours. Bring to a boil in a large pan and cook ten minutes. Pour into hot jars, leaving half-inch head space. Adjust lids and process 1/2 pints and pints in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Watermelon RadishThe watermelon radishes are so pretty. I have to thank Rachel for these seeds.

Ellipsis really is getting closer and closer to full conception all the time. Wouldn’t you love to sit in a cozy used book store sipping a cup of locally grown artisan tea, eating a scone with some homemade black raspberry jam? And to top it off, the business is as sustainable as it feasibly can be at that given moment and it is working to make your community a better place to live and work. This is something I must make happen, wherever the future takes Ellipsis Books and More.

I have been scouring the internBlack Raspberry Bushet and every cookbook I own searching for the proper baked goods to serve with tea. There are oh so many though and it’s very hard to narrow it down to a few to start with. So I said to myself, how about doing something will all those black raspberries all over the place. They are literally everywhere out there. I picked enough for some cakes, jam, and to just eat plain on my cereal. And I found a delicious looking Black Raspberry Almond Tea Cake.

The cake itself was delicious. I wish I lived in an area where I could grow almonds. Well you never know very soon maybe we will relocate to California and there I could grow almonds . .. Drizzled over the cake it had an almond glaze and I sprinkled some fresh raspberries on top. The only problem with this cake was that it does not keep longer than the next morning. So it would not be practical for the store.

Black Raspberry Almond Tea Cakes

Black Raspberry Almond Tea Cakes

1 tbsp almond extract
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Buttermilk (can substitute milk with 1 tsp white vinegar)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 cups raspberries

1 tbsp cream
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp sliced toasted almonds

Preheat to 325. Combine all wet ingredients, them mix in sugar. Add dry until well combined, then fold in raspberries. Pour batter into greased mini pans or into a greased bundt pan. Bake for 50 to 45 minutes. For glaze combine cream and almond extract, add powdered sugar until combined into a pourable glaze. Add almonds. Allow cakes to cool slightly, drizzle glaze on top just before serving. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

This is a quest that will continue . . .

There is a lot of progress happening here at Ellipsis! Take a look at the radishes. I planted a mix of them including a “watermelon radish” variety that are white on the outside and red on the inside. Can’t wait to make some radish relish with them.

Radishes in the Ground

Also an eggplant is almost ready to pick. Not sure what to do with this yet.

Eggplant

In other news, the greenhouse is up! I haven’t put anything in it yet, but I have big plans for camelia sinensis plants in my near future. Tea here I come!

Greenhouse

I’m still working out what the sort of near future holds for Ellipsis. Books are continually being added to the Alibris site at ellipsis.alibrisstore.com and working on a business plan, but it’s hard when I’m not sure where I’m going to be even months from now.

But I will continue to keep calm and carry on doing what I can as I go.

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