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I haven’t posted an update on the book end (no pun intended) of the business in a while. It’s been going very well and growing along with the rest. I have almost 300 books listed on Alibris and have been selling about three or four books a week. I’ve also found a couple great sources for books so things are going great!

I’ve also been posting vintage books on Etsy regularly and have some great finds that I haven’t even gotten to yet. There are four boxes of books in my office that need to be sorted and listed to one site or the other or both!

So check out my stores:
ellipsisbooksandmore.etsy.com
ellipsis.alibrisstore.com

Over the last few weeks I have started numerous projects involving just learning how the processes work. Mostly fermentation as it’s useful in many ways. It’s also very well suited to my life. You just mix together certain (and usually very few) ingredients and let them sit until they are ready. While the fermentation is happening there is usually very little maintenance involved.

Sauerkraut FermentationSo what are these projects I’ve been working on? First I started sauerkraut. I purchased a very nice two gallon crock through Ace Hardware online, which they delivered to the store for free  then I just had to pick it up. Then I chopped the three heads of green and white cabbage I had acquired locally, added them to the crock in layers. In each layer I sprinkled canning salt and pushed the cabbage down with my fists to draw the water out of it. There was supposed to be enough water when I finished to cover the cabbage so here I mixed a little canning salt in water and poured it over the cabbage to cover. Then you put a plate that fits inside the crock on top and place a heavy weight on it. At first I used a pumpkin as a weight, but should have known that putting it in salty water slowing gaining acidity was a a bad idea. So now it has half gallon jar filled with water on top. Every couple of days you have to check on its “bloom.” Which is a really nice word for the mold that gathers on top. It kind of freaks me out, but the sauerkraut is protected by the salty brine and the rising acidity.

When the kraut is all fermented and ready to go, I will post about it again!

Sourdough Starter and My ScaleAlso I am creating a sourdough starter for bread. This process uses no added yeast. The flour and water are mixed together in a non-reactive container and agitated every day by pouring out half of the mixture and adding new flour and water. I pour into the compost, but you could also make new starters out of it for yourself or to pass on to friends. What happens by the agitation is the waking up of the naturally occurring yeasts in the flour and the air.

To make your own sourdough starter first acquire a couple of supplies. A kitchen scale is very useful. The recipe I use is measured in  grams. Also a non-reactive container. I use a Pyrex bowl with a lid. When you actually get your starter activated, you will need a colander or basket, some canvas, and a large bowl, but the actual baking will be another post. So all you have to do is mix 200 grams of unbleached white flour and 200 grams on water in your non-reactive container. Put a lid on it and set it on your counter. Every day you pour off about half of the mixture and mix in 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water until it is active. Bam! In about a week, it will be bubbly, like you added yeast to it, and it will have a lovely sourdough smell.

Active Starter

 Soon I will post about experiences keeping it active and baking with it! I think it’s so exciting when you can make things happen, just with what nature has available. It may take a little longer, but isn’t what we need as a society is a sense of patience and a feeling of creation?

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