By: Joe Cowan, COO & Co-Founder, Dr. Cowan’s Garden
For the past couple of months, I have been working on refitting handles for worn out gardening tools and workshop tools. I started with an old splitting maul that I had broken splitting wood last fall. Purchasing the new handle was a far less expensive solution than replacing the axe entirely. However, a finished handle still cost more money than I wanted to spend (~$30). I have enough handle tools, and a few power tools at this point, that I can easily make a rough version and develop the skill to make much better versions in the future.
A ball-peened hammer and a joiners mallet were the next projects, both of which were pretty rough and took a lot longer than they should have. The look achieved was really pleasing, and the tools are fun to use. I found another larger ball-peened hammer for $2 at a flea market, and I corrected a few mistakes that I had made in the past. I also added some ergonomic features to the handle, and spent the extra time finishing it to an even nicer level. I have honed my skill set with five or six smaller projects similar to these, and can confidently cut and shape new handles for nearly any tool or gardening implement.
The reasons for doing this are more than economical. Sure, you can buy an old hammerhead or gardening tool head at a nominal cost, but the skills you can acquire and the enjoyment of using a tool made by you is unparalleled. Now, add the fact that the wood was cut down by me or my neighbor, and is completely free of pressure-treating chemicals or toxic finishes. Tools made using your own materials become extremely special and fun. With a big fence post mallet or a nice ergonomic ball-peened hammer, I have never been more keen to search for little projects with which I can use them.
Is your ovenproof dish buried at the back of your cupboard collecting dust? If so, dig it out, blow away the dust, and give it a good clean; you will need it for this baked fish recipe. This super versatile recipe is a complete meal, especially if you pair it with mashed potatoes; more on this later. You will also love this recipe if you like to keep washing up to a minimum. Although this recipe is made with red snapper, it works equally well with any type of white flaky fish such as cod, tilapia, bass, grouper or haddock.
What pies are on your family’s Thanksgiving table? Are they the usual apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan? Why not change it up? After all, variety is the spice of life and cake reminds us of celebrations.
This celebration cake is packed with fruits, dried vegetables, healthy fats, and spices. It is similar in texture to carrot cake yet tastes like Thanksgiving. Due to the moistness, mini cake and muffin pans are used, as a standard-sized cake would crumble too easily during the filling and frosting stage. Mini cakes and cupcakes are festively fun and small enough to sample other desserts without feeling overindulgent. (Like that's not going to happen on Thanksgiving 🦃.)