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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

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Since it’s now 2012, I thought this would be a good time to write a blog. It’s time to collect my thoughts on the last year and put down my abstract ideas for the future into words. Over the last year I think I made more changes in my life than any since perhaps the year after I graduated high school ( a year in which I traveled to Kazakhstan, moved from Pensylvania to Orlando, Florida, attended college, and met the love of my life : ) )

In 2011, I celebrated my daughter’s first birthday, settled into our first house, learned to make jelly, started selling used books, planted a garden, worked in a restaurant, an ice cream parlor, and a bookstore, tried managing a restaurant only to discover I really don’t want to work in the restaurant industry at all, I learned what the word “terrior” means, I received a certificate in Web Design and started the advanced certificate, I made salsa from green tomatoes and how to cook celeriac, I traveled to Fairfield, IA and learned that the way I want to live is possible, and perhaps most monumentally I registered Ellipsis Books and More as a business, making me a small business owner!

Yes, it is still all online, but it’s doing so well! I am so happy with all my progress. The year 2011 was such an important year in my life because I figured out what I want to be and what I want to do and I am honestly on a path that could lead me to a place where I feel successful.

So with 2012 now upon us, what will I do? Well I will set up the greenhouse and make it into a little paradise of orchids, spices, and a dwarf citrus tree. I will plant a garden full of heirloom seeds and nearly extinct varieties. Using vertical techniques and forest gardening, I will create a biologically diverse and extremely productive micro-ecosystem in my backyard. My kitchen will become a testing ground for food preservation and organic cooking. Ellipsis will grow into the physical realm, through consignment. And I will take a vacation! A real vacation to somewhere exotic.

Bring on the new year! I am ready and willing and I will blog all the way through.

 

It was Summer last time I posted and now it is Fall! How time flies when progress is being made. My cabinet is bursting with dried herbs, tea blends, and canned jellies, jams, and pickles. I’ve designed Ellipsis’s new logo and ordered labels for all the teas and jellies. Also I’ve acquired quite a large backlog of books! New ones, old ones, good ones, better ones and they all have to be cataloged!

So things are moving along. Of course they would move along a lot faster if there was more money, but alas things are as they are.

There are some other very exciting developments happening, involving a book club and Etsy. Of course all good things come to those who wait patiently  . . . right? Well yes, but of course there is always hard work involved.

Check out Alibris for new books I am adding all the time!

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.

It’s been a slow and mellow day today. I watered the plants, put the tomatoes out in the sun for a bit, took a walk, and added some books to our Alibris site.

I wanted to share the recipe for the lavender creme brulee I made Monday night for a birthday party. It was delicious.

2 1/4 cups heavy creamLavender Creme Brulee
1.2 cup sugar
1 vanilla pod
1/2 tsp dried lavender or 2 tsp fresh lavender flowers
5 large egg yolks
Sugar for the topping

Preheat to 325 degrees In a medium sauce pan, combine cream and 1/2 cup sugar. Slice vanilla pod down the middle and scrape out the seeds. Put seeds and pod in the cream mixture, add lavender. Bring to a boil over medium heat whisking constantly until it comes to a simmer and bubbles form along the edges. turn off heat and put the lid on the mixture. Let it steep so the lavender and vanilla flavors permeate the custard. Now whisk the egg yolks very well in a large glass measuring cup, then mix in the hot cream mixture until very well combines. Divide into ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large roasting pan and fill with water half way to the top of the ramekins. Bake until the custard is set but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 35 minutes. Cool on a baking rack then put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Before serving sprinkle the tops generously with sugar then either use a culinary torch or your oven broiler to melt and caramelize the sugar.

This was so good. The lavender flavor was very subtle along with the smooth vanilla. Some day I would love to grow vanilla orchids in the greenhouse. We paired our creme brulee with a pot of loose leaf plum black tea. It was a wonderful pairing.

Look for an update on our gardens tomorrow. The mints and herbs are doing great and the veggies are getting big. We’ll be harvesting radishes soon to make a big batch of radish relish for canning. Also the black raspberries are beginning to ripen. They are every where. So we will harvest some of them to dry and incorporate into teas, others to make jams, and the rest for experimenting with. I’m thinking lemon curd black raspberry tarts . . .

Today we planted the rest of our mints. The first is an orange mint which we plan on using in place of bergamot orange in Earl Grey tea. Growing up mom used to put it in iced tea and it was delicious. The smell takes me back. The second is peppermint. You can see below that it was just roots. We never ordered a barefoot plant before and couldn’t find any useful information on how exactly to plant it so we assumed the best strategy would be to put in the the ground and water it. We put some of them in laying on their sides and some of them sticking up in the soil, not sure which would work best. Watch for updates!

Everything is doing wonderful in the garden. The herbs are getting bigger and most of the root vegetables have sprouted. The radishes have gone crazy. We planted a mix of them as well as a row of watermelon radishes. Can’t wait to make radish relish!
Radish Seedlings

And the lettuces are huge. We need to find something to do with spinach mustard as it is ready to be harvested already. The corn also is popping up and the eggplant is getting loads of blossoms. Even the watermelons we transplanted from a friends yard are doing swimmingly.

Hopefully in a month or so the herbs will be big enough to start drying them for herbal teas. The greenhouse to is coming along. This is the finished base built with treated lumber and galvanized screws. We will begin putting together the frame soon.

Greenhouse Base

And of course as always we are working on our business plan for the brick and mortar Ellipsis. Today we hashed out the Break Even Analysis and our projected profits more than equal our projected costs! That is a good sign for the future.

On that note lets end with a lovely little bay tree:

Bay Tree

It’s a hot one in Galena today! We have basil, stevia, eggplant, and corn to plant, but man is it going to be a sweaty, dirty job today . . . Soon we will post pics of our herb garden, it’s getting to be quite nice. We can’t wait until it’s flourishing and we can harvest for tea making, especially the peppermint and ginseng.

In other news, the greenhouse base is almost complete. Today we will put screw it together and attach the floorplates and weight it down. Pics will be posted! So excited to grow our camelia sinensis! Also we are looking into dwarf citrus trees. Lemon and orange peal are wonderful additions to teas. Slowly we will build up a supply of spice trees and bushes, vanilla orchids, and hibiscus to have the best selection of teas.

The book business is also going well. We are always acquiring used and vintage books. Of course we are always looking for self-published authors as well. Remember to check out our online store at ellipsis.alibrisstore.com periodically for new additions.

Aside from lovely vegetables and herbs we also have some  beautiful flowers around the property. Here is a yellow gerbera daisy on the front step.

Gerber Daisy

It’s true. Remember those little lettuces from last week? Well look at them now.

Lettuce

Look how they've grown!

All the rain we’ve been getting however dreary it is, really helps out our little plants. We’re going to have to thin them out so they have room to become nice big heads of lettuce, but it’s going to be so sad to pull them up!

Also the broccoli and cauliflower are doing wonderful. Little tiny broccolis are already starting to form.

Broccoli

Baby broccoli

We also have beans and peas coming up faster than expected. The trellis for them needs to go up later today if it’s not raining too hard.

Bean Plant

These just popped right up!

In other news, the wood for the greenhouse base has been delivered, and we’ve managed to borrow a saw. So pending the purchase of galvanized deck screws we should have the greenhouse up within a week or so. Then the camilia sinensis will be started as well as some dwarf citrus, bergamot, and hibiscus.

The raspberry bushes on the property may bloom and fruit as well. I discovered these blossoms in the raspberry bush that is growing inside one of our flowering shrubs.

Raspberry Blossoms

Very soon we will be planting the root vegetables and corn. The corn bed will have to be de-rocked as it needs a lot of open soil for its roots. The root vegetable bed is less rocky so it shouldn’t be too much of a chore to do. And also we will be repotting the tomato and pepper seedlings as they are not ready to go outside but outgrowing their little peat moss pellets. We will post pics!

The business timeline for Ellipsis is as follows. Soon we will be growing tea plants and blending loose teas. We also plan to package little cotton muslin reusable bags with each tin of tea. Perhaps we will sell vintage book and tea packages on Etsy and also we hope to sell tea with some of the shops in downtown Galena. First however we must learn to dry and make different types of tea for the best taste and health benefits. And of course we are continually working on our business plan and scouting out local resources.

Have a wonderful day! It looks as though the sun is coming out in Galena. I hope you see the sun today as well!

Everything is going wonderfully. The broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuces are all getting big, the squashes and melons have sprouted, as well as the beans and peas. And yesterday we planted most of our herb garden. Mints, borage, parsley, sage, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, and dill. Next we’ll do the root vegetables and corn. Then the peppers and tomatoes should be big enough to transplant. We also have calendula sprouting which adds lovely color to tea.The stevia is also doing great, but we’re not sure whether or not it should be planted in the ground. Same with the thai basil. It does get a little chilly here in Galena at night.

Also we’ve added a few books to our Alibris site! http://www.ellipsis.alibrisstore.com

At Ellipsis Books and More we love vintage books. Well mostly we love books. But we also love green living. Right now we sell used, vintage, and antiquarian books via http://ellipsis.alibrisstore.com/ (shameless plug).

This blog will chronicle Ellipsis as it grows. We plan to become a completely sustainable, zero waste business. All of our practices and decisions will lead to this goal.

Broccoli

Our little broccolis are doing wonderful!

Currently we are still in stage one: Online Store and Learning to Garden. Once our greenhouse goes up, we will start growing tea plants or Camelia Sinensis. This plant is where green, black, yellow, white, and oolong are derived from. We will also do herbal tea blends. Books and tea just go together.

The physical Ellipsis store will house used and vintage books and a tea bar that will also feature local, in-season fruit juices, smoothies, and snacks.

Our gardens are doing great. They are dug, tilled, and supplemented with biochar (an amazing natural supplement) The calendula, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, and spinach as well as our sunflowers and nasturtiums have all spouted and are looking good!

We just wish the weather would decide on a direction. We went from 90 degree days to 36 degree nights within a week. So we’re afraid to plant anything else! Here’s to the future!

Baby Lettuces

Baby lettuces in the Mesclun Mix

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