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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!

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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

As summer progresses we see things come and go. Flower and fruit, fruit and flower and we have to consider what to call progress. Some things such as raspberries flower and then fruit, others like broccoli, flower when it’s too late. Interesting isn’t it, how things work?

All the rain from the last couple of days is working wonders for the garden. It seems like the plants tapped into some underground source of energy and just grew like crazy. The banana mint is doing wonderful. We are thinking of a strawberry banana tea with dried fruits and banana mint making up the base. Also can’t wait for the peppermint to come up. Mint teas are amazingly relaxing and a perfect companion to most books.

Construction on the greenhouse has halted. Something has come up that may cause us to relocate, so we’re waiting and seeing — my least favorite thing to do. We probably won’t be going anywhere until the end of the summer, but it’s best to just wait it out with the greenhouse and put it up in our new location (I’m hearing whispers of California.)

Harvested lettuce and spinach mustard yesterday. Made a salad with the lettuces today for lunch. Yum yum. Trying to think of something extra creative for the mustard.

The goals for this week: continue to flesh out the Ellipsis business plan, weed, eat healthy foods, above all: be productive and go forward.

By the way, we’ve discovered Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas. It is a fantastic series on sustainable living is all sorts of facets of life. The episode on business is amazing. There are all sorts of practical and smart ways to enforce a triple bottom line, People, Planet, Profit. Things from recycled glass counter tops to recycled blue jean insulation to reclaimed wood tables are all possible and all make so much more sense than the current business model of consume to make money and consume more. A singular business model where only a few are benefiting is a dying concept. The changes happening every day, everywhere are brilliant. Check out Big Ideas: http://www.sundancechannel.com/big-ideas/. Or it’s on Netflix instant.

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

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