Just Us Barkers Our Little Corner of the Web


I have made this recipe several times. They are so delicious and super easy.

I usually half this recipe and have found that it turns out great, too. They have become part of the Barker’s Baking Repertoire for Christmas. Enjoy!




  1. 2 cups olive oil
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1 tsp. baking soda
  5. 8 T. orange juice
  6. 1/2 T. ground cloves
  7. 1/2 T. ground cinnamon
  8. 7-8 cups flour
  9. Syrup:
  10. 2 cups honey
  11. 2 cups sugar
  12. 2 cups water
  13. 1 cup walnuts (finely chopped) I substitute with pecans


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk sugar and olive oil to form a thin paste. Add the baking soda (dissolved in the orange juice) and remaining ingredients. Dough should be pliable enough to form a ball.
  2. Shape into oblongs. They will resemble footballs.
  3. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile make syrup. Combine honey, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and skim the foam off. Drink it with a straw. Just kidding. Let cool.
  5. You may want to set up a cooling rack that is placed within a roasting pan or another cookie sheet to catch the drippings.
  6. Take a few cookies and soak them in the syrup (each side for 2 minutes or so). Place the dripping cookies on that rack and sprinkle them with those walnuts (pecans). Repeat for maximum deliciousness! Pour any left over syrup over the finished cookies (or pour it in your coffee).

A Mini Rant

Hereford, Arizona has a lot in common with Crete, Greece.

1) The dry climate

2) Distance from the equator (related to #1)

3) Scorpions and other creepy things that want to kill you

4) All plants have thorns and want to kill you

5) Lots of wind

AND . . .

6) The water is turned off at random times throughout the week. We’re going on 3 hours without water people. What the heck!

I have a sink full of dishes that need to be washed. I’d like to water my “garden”. And . . . I just went running and would like to use the water that I pay for. Go figure.

Merry Christmas,

Scrooge McDuck

What’s in a Name?

I’ve often heard that “A name says it all.” Is that true? I once watched a documentary about peoples’ names and came away with the understanding that our names actually affect the behavior of others. Don’t get hung up on the fact that I watched a show about this. The point is, names matter. They sway our judgement. In fact, in some cases we make judgements solely based on a name.

Why, oh why, am I dedicating an entire post on this issue? Well, it all comes down to this . . . what are the Barkers going to call their chicken coop? I know. I know. It’s not a life altering decision, but it is one that may (or may not) stick. Now that the Coop du Jour is finished, we would like to paint a name just above the door. The kids want to personalize it. Plus, I think it would be a nice touch.

Back to naming this beautiful building . . .

Do we wait and see how the chickens manage their coop? The Tidy Tudor. Or name it based on chicken personalities? Loco Pollos.

Or do we just go ahead and give it a name? And what kind of name do we give it? Serious, utilitarian, funny, satirical?

We spent some time talking about this the other night. The kiddos took over and decided to draw names out of a hat. They got Matt and I to do the same (sigh). We each put in two pieces of paper with our name choices written down. The lucky winner was Tristan. Yay! He chose one of his names”The Big House”. He said the coops sort of looks like a little prison. Matt wasn’t too keen on that name. I think it’s funny, but Matt is adamant that he did not build a prison. He built a home. End of discussion. Amen.

So, we all decided to do another drawing. But Tristan just couldn’t pick a name to write down. Well, that’s not completely true. He just didn’t have our stamp of approval on any of the names he chose. For instance, “The Big Red Microwave”, “Annie’s Diner”, and “The Big Square Building with Chickens in it.” Yeah, so those didn’t make it into the hat. Can you see why?

On the other hand, Gavin wanted “The Happy Rooster.” Sounds good to me. I think that may be a very fitting name in the future. He also chose “Cute & Cuddly.” Okay, see this is where we have problems. We have two extremes here: Cute, fuzzy peeps versus chicken torturing area 51. We also had to put the kibosh on “The Chicken Ranch,” because this isn’t Las Vegas after all. “Why not mom?” Try explaining that one to your little sweeties.

Matt’s choices were all in Spanish. Some of them didn’t even make it to the brainstorming paper. The boys vetoed those at once. Nothing in Spanish. Nothing in German. Nothing in Greek. English only. Sheesh! What bossy kids! I’m not sure I actually had any of my choices written down. I just kept yelling them out, like I was going to overwhelm the crowd with my wittiness. Not in my house.

In case you are curious, here are some of the names that didn’t win anyone over:

Poultry Palace

The Big House (as described above)

The Looney Bin (great name for a duck house)

Chick Magnet

Casa Roja

Casa de los Huevos

Chicken Shack

The B & B

The Breakfast Club

Hen Hotel

The Happy Rooster

The Happy Roost

Cute & Cuddly

The Big House

The Big Red Microwave

Chick, Chick, Chick

See what I mean? 

Ciao –

Chicky Momma

Baby Chicks

The objectives: Get chickens, have eggs, and eat chicken.

The steps: Get chickens, collect eggs, “process” the chicken, and eat chicken.

It seems simple doesn’t it. Well, there is more to both the objectives and the steps.

It is true, we are building the home for the ladies. That part is nearly done, as I’ve mentioned several times. The part I did not mention is this: The Chickens.

It turns out that you actually need to have chickens to lay the eggs and to physically be present to eat. Of course, we did not forget this part of the formula (chicken + coop = eggs & meat). That was the formula, in case you didn’t know.

But where, oh where are we to get such fine, egg laying, meat birds? Why not from our fantastic and generous neighbors? I mentioned them before and I will say it again – they are so nice! They gave us a ton of eggs and lent us an incubator. I still cannot believe their generosity and help. Wow!

Okay, let me back up. I totally freaked when Matt suggested that we hatch our own eggs. I mean, can’t I have a pullet (teenager) first because I have no idea what to do with a baby chick? Heck, I have no idea what to do with a chicken that still has feathers on it! Breathe, breathe, breathe. I’m okay now. So, right now, and I mean RIGHT NOW, we have a dazzling array of chicken eggs that are sitting in an incubator in my garage. I am not joking. I have proof.

I have been told, that if they hatch, we will have some cute, fuzzy baby chicks by the end of the month. I say if they hatch, because there is no way to be 100% sure that they are all fertilized and if so, some may be duds. Anyone remember Charlottle’s Web and Templeton?

I’m nervous, anxious, and super excited.

We have dark brown, light brown, light brown with speckles, light green, darker green, white, and cream colored. Yes, I said green. Green eggs and ham, Sam I am.

Oh, and I will share with you what “processing” a chicken is. Later. Much, much later.

Farmer Girl Out,



Earl Grey

Attention: We have a new family member.

The boys have just started 4-H. Do you know what 4-H is? My answer is . . . a club that does stuff with animals. But, that’s not the technical description. I just learned recently what the 4-Hs stand for: Head, heart, hands, and health. I never knew.

My first impression of the group’s meeting was CHAOS. I’m pretty sure my family was contemplating turning around and leaving. I’m not sure what transpired after the first 15 minutes. I sort of blacked out. Clearly, I have no idea what livestock judging is, let alone why horses wearing blinking lights was discussed. We just came because I just wanted to sign my boys up for the projects. And by the way, what is a project?

Kids pick a project that they are interested in. For example, a child can select dairy goats; specifically, a Nubian Dwarf Dairy Goat. Just kidding. No, really they can, but I’m not allowed. Apparently.

Gavin’s project is rabbits. He was considering working on sign language, but the idea of a cute, fluffy bunny changed his mind. Since his project is rabbits, he will be soon attending the 4-H Rabbit Group. Here he will learn all about rabbits (a.k.a. cute, fluffy, adorable bunnies).

I just read on the Arizona 4-H website that they learn how to select a rabbit. Ooops. We already did that. Oh well. We’re ahead of the curve. We haven’t been to a rabbit meeting yet, but his first meeting will be in November. At the meeting, we will probably learn that we’ve done it all wrong.

Tristan changes his mind about every day, so who knows what he’s doing. I do know that he will be doing Archery & Shooting, but not sure if he has finalized his decision on a rabbit. He’s gone from chicken, to goat, to rabbit, to nothing, to rabbit, to . . . They can do more than one project, which is pretty cool.

Here is Earl Grey. Take it away Earl . . .



Jeeping In Our Jeep

This gallery contains 13 photos.

On Saturday, we took a break from the chicken coop construction. Matt has been a member of the local 4 wheel drive club here, called Range Riders for almost 15 years. He finally had the chance to go on a “run” with the group this past weekend. A “run” is basically going out with some like minded 4×4 enthusiasts and having fun. We started out strong, but . . . well, let’s just say they didn’t end the same way. And for the record! Jeeps never get stuck. They just […]

Coop Progress: Days 5 & 6

This gallery contains 7 photos.

I’m a little behind in telling you about our progress. There has been quite a lot of progress, but I’ve been just too exhausted to write about it. We worked on the coop all day Friday & most of Sunday. But . . . we took Saturday off to go play. And guess what? We painted a little more. How fun! We decided on a color for the hen house and it’s RED! How traditional. Here is what we have done so far, plus Matt has installed a bunch more […]

All Cooped Up: Are We Done Yet?

This gallery contains 5 photos.

The days are all starting to blend together. I’m trying to recall what exactly we did on the chicken coop construction yesterday and I got . . . nothing. Granted, I haven’t had my coffee yet, but . . . Okay, things are better now. My eyes are open and my mind is starting to clear. Day 4 of this whole chicken coop operation was spent painting AGAIN! And Matt constructed the support beams for the hen house. We also took another trip to the lumber yard. I think we […]

Chicken Coop: Day 3

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Yesterday ended with some real progress. Truth be told, everyday has ended with progress, but Day 3’s progress was made evident by the appearance of a real chicken coop shape. And I must say, it is rather shapely. Rectangular shape-ity, shaped shape. We were able to assemble the three other walls of the frame before noon. We were able to build the first walll yesterday. The walls were a quick task. Then we laid them out according to their respective locations and attached them to the base. Then the roof […]

Chicken Coop: Part Deux

For Day 2 all I have to share is that we painted all the boards. Yep, painted and painted. The boys painted. I painted. And Matt painted. Annie did not paint. She is the supervisor of this whole operation.

Near the end of the day, or more like the end of our day light, Matt and I decided that since we painted all of the boards, we could be done for the day. We wanted the boards to be painted before they were assembled to the frame but after they were cut. So, ending the day with a full day’s work of painting sounded reasonable. Why take on something new when the sun was about to disappear?


Nope. Folks, my husband’s thinker never stops working.

He disappeared into the barn (a.k.a. shed) and reappeared with renewed vigor! I was already celebrating the end of Day 2 when I was rudely pulled back into action. Just kidding. I was just as excited to see the next step put forth.

With the help of our little Minions and I, Matt assembled the first wall of the coop. Thank God that Matt is the one walking around measuring things. I’d be more of an eye-baller – “Looks good, ” I would say. And that is why I am not in charge of measuring anything important.

The end.