Eggs, Glorious Eggs

The warmer days have gotten our chickens excited and moving into high production mode. Even senior hen Maizie has started laying her popular, pale blue eggs again. Nothing makes us happier than collecting, eating and sharing glorious fresh farm eggs. Thank you, ladies!

Mud Season

Every February and March, a feeling washes over us as the winter rains hit their peak, the creeks flood their banks and the animals stand in muck for days, sometimes weeks, at a time. Will the mud ever dry? Will the horses know clean again? Will we see that beautiful blanket of green spread across all of the pastures soon? Of course, the answer is Yes. Yet, as we await the confirmed coming of spring, and mostly on the rainiest days, we still sometimes have our doubts…

So before posting the happy “Spring is here!” photos in the weeks ahead, here’s a little look at Mud Season at Cerakko Farm.

May all your ‘pastures’ turn green soon, too. ūüôā



Farm in Winter

December has brought so much happiness and joy, but one of the biggest surprises was a snowstorm nobody quite expected. Our part of the state reported a record 11 inches. Not bad for Alabama. And while roaming the property simply in awe of all the beauty, hardly another thought popped into my mind for those two quiet hours. It was a ‘winter whites’ meditative kind of walk…one we’ll always remember.

Puppy Power

Babies bring new life and energy to our lives, and remind us what it’s like to see the world anew again. Out here we have a new addition who’s helping us do just that. We’re ecstatic to introduce you to Tallulah Star! She’s a happy, wonderful mess at this stage and still learning the ropes. But she’s growing into a great family farm dog and we’re all smitten. (Here’s hoping she grows into those big ears soon!)



Shinrin-Yoku This

The green canopy of the back woods is calling¬†our names…for long walks, trail rides,¬†meditation, dog jaunts, chanterelle seeking and more. It’s a real thing, these trees that beckon, and when we get deep among them¬†they fill our minds and bodies with peace. So when we lost 40 (yes, 40), 40-year-old giant Leyland Cypress trees¬†due to the effects of last year’s drought, it¬†nearly broke our hearts. But Mike D’Avanzo, who never backs down from a worthy challenge, immediately got busy chopping down dead trees, hauling out¬†stumps and branches¬†and burning them,¬†and talking to friends, arborists and horticulture¬†experts about¬†replanting¬†options and hardier¬†species. Then we started all over again,¬†ordering 40 baby¬†trees and planting them all over¬†the place. We know¬†it will take years — decades even¬†— for them to reach the heights of their stately predecessors, but we believe it’s¬†our duty to do this¬†for the next generation…much like they were gifted¬†to us when we moved here.

In Japan, shinrin-yoku, also known as “forest therapy,” has been gaining more and more credence here in¬†the U.S. The Wall Street Journal¬†ran¬†an article just last week on “tree therapy” as a way to fight¬†what ails us.¬†Mother Earth News prescribes¬†“forest bathing,” or time spent in green spaces, as a way to¬†reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase our immune defense systems.¬†Outside Magazine¬†says this slow-nature movement is a necessity and that,¬†since the age of the Internet, North Americans have become more aggressive, more narcissistic, more distracted, more depressed, and less cognitively nimble. Yikes. We didn’t realize¬†there were so many¬†labels and scientific findings on the subject.¬†All we know is that we simply like walking¬†in the¬†woods.¬†And we¬†plan¬†to spend a lot of time¬†doing just that, “in treatment,” this summer. ūüôā

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.