April – Domestic Harmony in the Time of Covid-19

April – Domestic Harmony in the Time of Covid-19

What does domestic harmony look like in your household? In our house it looks like this:

Domestic Harmony

Equal Split of Margaret Fox’s Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Whatever it takes, eh?

Margaret Fox was the owner and chef at Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino, one of the early restaurants in the California cuisine trend in the style of Alice Waters. She now runs the deli and bakery at our local independent grocery store, Harvest Market. We are indeed lucky. Her buttermilk coffee cake is delicious. I am not a baker so we try to get one whenever they are available on our currently infrequent jaunts to the store. Sharing equally is a big deal.

What are you doing to maintain a tranquil environment in this time of social distancing and stay-at-home requirements? I know things can get testy. Long walks definitely help, and Zoom exercise classes, and gardening if you are lucky enough to have one.

It’s time to appreciate and notice small things small things. Spring is definitely here. In my yard the song sparrows are singing a chorus. This is the first year the song sparrows have found our clearing, although I’ve been feeding the birds for the last three years (the seed bill is growing). Redwood forests don’t have a lot of birds, there isn’t much food for them under the trees. So it took awhile for them to find us, it’s worth getting up early to hear the morning riot of song. I’m hoping that they nest nearby as the mourning doves have. Their population has gone from 2 to 7. I’m keeping a log of all the birds that visit the feeders, they are increasing in varieties and number. Every once in a while I see a new one to add to the list.

We now have two native Western grey squirrels raiding the feeders as well, until recently there was only one. I am expecting some little ones the summer.

Did you know there is a run on jigsaw puzzles?


Undersea jigsaw puzzle

We found this one in the garage, an old one we had never put together. Puzzles are very relaxing and something the entire family can enjoy. The NY Times had a fascinating article on how jigsaw puzzles are made, it takes weeks. And it seems that puzzle makers are having a hard time keeping up with current demand.

Board games are a good distraction.

Board Games

Board Games

We were introduced to Mexican Train Dominos by some friends a few months ago, it has become a favorite. The instructions that come with the game are terrible, we had to figure them out for ourselves from online research. I’m still not sure we are playing it ‘correctly’ but we are having fun.

There are currently three of us sheltering in place in our household. We each choose an activity for the evening in rotation…games or a movie or a TV series we are watching together or simply sit and talk about something from our day. There aren’t any small children so things are a little easier for us than some of you. All three of us enjoy science fiction so we have been watching the new Star Trek episodes together.

And in case you are wondering what to do with all those leftover hard boiled eggs…

  • deviled eggs, one of my favorites

    Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

    Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

  • Easter egg salad sandwiches

    Easter Egg Salad

    Easter Egg Salad

  • Eggs a la Goldenrod – an old recipe from Betty Crocker

    Eggs a La Goldenrod

    Eggs a La Goldenrod

  • sliced and put on top of avocado toast with a sprinkling of coarse salt

Deviled Eggs for Anchovy Lovers


  • 1 hardboiled egg per person – see the note below
  • 1/2 anchovy per egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon capers per egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard per egg
  • 1 teaspoon mayo/egg, or more as needed
  • red pepper flakes as desired (optional)
  • Thinly sliced chives or green scallion tops


  1. Cook hardboiled eggs as noted below
  2. Cool and remove the shell carefully
  3. Slice in half, remove the yolks to a small bowl
  4. Mash with the anchovies, add mayonnaise to thin as necessary
  5. Add the capers and taste for salt (it probably won’t need any with the anchovies)
  6. Add the red pepper flakes if you want some heat
  7. Carefully fill the egg whites with the mixture
  8. Garnish with chives or scallions
Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

Deviled Eggs with Anchovies

Note on cooking hard boiled eggs:

  1. Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water by at least an inch.
  2. Bring the eggs and water to a rapid boil, then cover the pan and turn off the heat. Leave the pan on the burner. If you have a gas stove, turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting and leave for 1 minute before turning off the heat.
  3. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 12 minutes.
  4. Drain and run cool water over the eggs.
  5. Peel when cool. Slightly older eggs are often easier to peel.