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Rev up your lawnmowers! I am officially not expecting any more frost this year! My tomatoes Redbud Blossomsand peppers are going to go in the ground, the lettuce and peas are getting big, and flowers are blooming!

I am hoping to make violet jelly again, but I’ve also be informed of something new and exiting, Redbud blossoms are edible. Really! They are in the pea family! So I am going to attempt to make a jelly with them. I am promised by recipes on line that they jelly will not taste like peas. I am apprehensive, though, because the infusion sure smells like peas . . .

It's Time for Another End of Season Sale

As I continually get more and more frustrated with the day to day humdrum of my “day jobs” –Yes plural jobs— the necessity for change becomes all the more clear. So I ask myself, what do I want? I want to garden. I want to become sustainable. I want to help others do the same. So working six days a week is not conducive to this goal. I must find a way to make Ellipsis successful enough online to be rid of at least one job. The search for possibilities is on.

I have been making progress of sorts. In December Ellipsis made a nice bit of money on Etsy. A lot of it is going to have to go into buying more supplies and labels however. A physical business is a necessity, business real estate in Galena is up in the 5 – 600,000’s however. Hmmmmm . . .

As for the gardening, I’m ordering tons of heirloom seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, based out of Decorah, Iowa. This summer I will have some very unique varieties and we are planning to greatly increase the size of our yields. Hopefully enough to have an excess to sell at Farmer’s Market along with jellies, pickles, and maybe some baked goods. Mostly I’ve been reading about soil types, compost, heirlooms, and seed saving. Also I’m trying to come up with the best things to start with in the greenhouse and how to best utilize our outdoor space.

Chamomile Apple Cinnamon JellyFinally I made a completely 100% natural pectin jelly! The Chamomile Apple Cinnamon is now totally natural. Apples contain strong natural pectin. Apple pectin is full of benefits including radiation cleansing properties. The jelly is awesome! So tasty with butter on whole wheat toast. Now I will be attempting to adjust all my recipes to work with apple juice heavy in pectin, it will be a complex procedure in which I waste a lot of ingredients!

I’ve also been blending some new herbal teas. January is Hot Tea Month and I’ve been Sage Teaexperimenting with different combinations. It’s so much fun to play with herbs I’ve harvested and dried from my own garden. I have a lot of ideas in mind, but my most recent to go up for sale is a sage blend. Pineapple sage and culinary sage blended is lovely and smooth with just a bit of fruity-ness. Sage is found most useful when combating anxiety and depression. You can read about the benefits of sage here. This is a whole leaf tea of course. When the leaves are crushed, they tend to loose a lot of their natural oils. Left whole they retain their flavors and benefits better.

Soon I will be posting some special Valentine’s Day jellies and more books of course. Currently I have a catalog of over 200 books posted on Alibris and quite a few very nice editions on Etsy, including a second edition Lord of the Rings Boxed set and a first edition of Louisa May Alcott’s “Jo’s Boys.” I also have a beautiful set of Pooh’s Library, on the very early printings – 1965. And of course I have some very interesting vintage offerings in my $2 and $5 bins!

Thank you again for your support!

Gift BundleEllipsis Books and More is finally actually more. In addition to my Alibris store. I now sell antiquarian and vintage books, herbal teas, and jams and jellies on Etsy. I make several varieties of jelly including lavender, white tea and pomegranate, earl grey, and peach butter. All of the produce and herbs I’m using are either grown by me or grown by another local farmer. I’m very proud of that fact!

I’m planning big things for the spring. Reading the book, Vertical Farms by Dickson Despommier and also Permaculture magazine, has really opened my eyes to growing more effective gardens. The idea of “forest gardening” in particular is something I would like to incorporate. It’s when a garden of food emulates how a forest is set up from the forest floor to the canopy.

The greenhouse is also something I really want to do a lot more with this coming season. Including some more tropical varities of fruits and spices.

Look for some different kind of jellies in the next few weeks and over the holiday season as well as more availability of the favorites for the holiday season. And don’t forget to check out Vintage Booksellipsis.alibrisstore.com for your holiday gift shopping. There are nearly 200 different titles listed and counting. If there is something you’ve been looking for, message me. I might have it! Or I may be able to get it at a lower price. Also Ellipsis is venturing in publishing a bit. Which is super exciting! Thank you everyone for your support. This is all becoming a reality!

So it’s the end of the season and you have a garden full of green tomatoes that you could allow to sit on your counter and redden. It will take a couple of weeks, but it will happen eventually. Or if you’re like me and ended up with dozens and dozens of little green cherry tomatoes, what do you do with them? Well there are quite a few things you could do. If you are also finding yourself with a load of cabbage, you could do chow chow, which is delish. Or you could do a relish, or some other kind of pickled green tomato thing. Or you could do what I did and make a salsa. I happened to have a lot of peppers and onions as well as tomatoes. It is very good! And it’s relatively easy, once you get everything chopped. This was quite a chore for me since I have dozens of little, tiny tomatoes.

This is the recipe I used:

5 lbs green tomatoes, chopped small (as you prefer for salsa)
6 yellow onions, chopped (4 cups)
3 jalapenos, chopped with seeds (1/2 cup)
4 large red bell peppers, chopped (2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup lime juice1/2 cup vinegar1 tablespoon salt1/2 tablespoon cumin1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves2 teaspoons pepper1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional, to taste)
1 -2 teaspoon sugar

Combine everything in a large pot, mixing well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. To continue canning, bring salsa to a boil.
Ladle salsa into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe lids and jar edges clean before finger tightening lids and placing them back in the boiling canning pot.Process (boil) jars for 15 minutes. Remove carefully and let sit for 24 hours. Check lids for seal, and refrigerate any unsealed jars
I wish I would have added more peppers or more spice. It really didn’t turn out spicy enough for me, but it is still really good. I just spice it up right before using it.
Queen Anne's Lace Jelly

Queen Anne's Lace Jelly

On another note, Ellipsis Books and More is on Etsy with jams, jellies, teas, and antiquarian books. Vintage and handmade tea ware are coming soon! We will be doing gift baskets for Christmas. This is really, really exciting and I’m so happy to finally have this part of Ellipsis realized. Hopefully someday I will selling out of my very own physical store and farming sustainably on a large scale.

I’m reading this fantastic book called “Vertical Farming” by Dr. Dickson Polmmier. It is unbelievable what ideas are floating around right now. This man is purposing taking the farm directly to the cities by way of skyscrapers that use hydroponic techniques to produce food all year round. How cool is that? I would love to do that on a smaller scale in a smaller town also involving a small geodesic dome. When people start putting these plans into practice, them everyone else will realize that it’s not too late.

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