Post Office Murals – Depression Era Art

All across North Carolina there are some hidden art gems on the walls of old post office buildings.

In many post offices and public buildings across the US, you'll find spectacular murals painted on the walls. This is a WPA mural of First Flight in Williamston, NC | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/post-office-murals-nc

Post office mural of First Flight in Williamston, NC

Here in eastern North Carolina, in this small town of Williamston, we have a real art jewel.  The First Flight mural was painted in 1940 on the wall of the post office on Main Street, and it is still there for all of us to see.

The artist was Phillip Von Saltza. He entered a contest with 1, 475 other entrants and won the commission.  He was paid $725 to paint this oil-on-canvas mural. That was a sizable sum during the Depression. [click to continue…]

The 3 Lives of Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse – a Beacon for Seamen since 1848

Bodie Island Lighthouse in coastal North Carolina has quite a history. Read more on Chloe's Blog about the highlights -- fascinating stuff.  | chloesblog.com

Picture perfect Bodie Island Lighthouse, NC Outer Banks

Bodie Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1848 on North Carolina’s Outer Banks near Oregon Inlet – but it had to be abandoned in 1859 because the foundation was shifting.

And for those who don’t know – it is pronounced body, like all the bodies that wash up on the shore. That really is an old yarn, but folks still tell it. [click to continue…]

Ram Albemarle – Ironclad Warship of the Confederacy

For Civil War buffs, April belongs to Plymouth, a small town on the Roanoke River in eastern North Carolina.

Did you know that this Confederate ironclad warship -- the Ram Albemarle -- was most important ship of the Civil War? There are some fascinating facts about this warship in blog article. | chloeblog.com

On April 18 & 19, you can be a part of Living History in Motion “Odyssey of an Ironclad – The Incredible Journey of the CSS Albemarle.” This 2-day trip on the Roanoke River retraces the route taken by the Ram Albemarle Ironclad Confederate warship from Scotland Neck, NC to Plymouth, NC. I have some fascinating facts to share with you too. Keep reading … [click to continue…]

Stone Ground Grits – It’s a Southern Art

Did you know that Grits are made from corn? And stone ground grits are the best.

Old grist mills in North Carolina still make stone-ground grits. This water powered mill in Selma is making grits and corn meal the old way.  |  chloesblog.com

Atkinson Milling Company in Selma, NC produces some of the best grits.  I’ve tried many kinds and theirs are the best.

I was looking for local stone-ground North Carolina grits to serve at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast and I found them at Atkinson Mill in Selma, NC.  Joseph Wheeler,  whose grandfather owns the mill, gave us the grand tour of this fascinating and quite extensive mill.  You could just tell that Joseph loves this business and he loves the mill and its history.

Wandering around in the mill there is a yellowish haze everywhere. We had corn dust all over us!  [click to continue…]

Making Pull Candy – the Old-Fashioned Way

Pull Candy Recipe – Old Time Stewed Sugar 

Try this recipe for old-fashioned Pull Candy -- just like your grandmother used to make. Make fun kitchen memories with your kids  |  chloesblog.bigmill.com

My mother called this wonderful confection pull candy or stewed sugar. Some folks call it taffy. When she described a child’s pretty blond hair she would say it was the color of stewed sugar — a gorgeous translucent white color with a faint golden tint.

Making this recipe in the New Year seems appropriate for me – it brings back memories of winter on the farm in the kitchen with my mother who was also named Chloe. She told me that when she was growing up, folks in the neighborhood would have a Candy Pulling party and they had so much fun. [click to continue…]

Farm Heritage Fair in Williamston NC – Old Tools & Old Farm Equipment

We folks in eastern North Carolina celebrate our farm heritage

Santa and his tractor at the Martin County Farm Heritage Fair in Williamston, NC | chloesblog.bigmill.com

Every year since 2003, we have a big Farm Heritage Fair at the Senator Bob Martin Ag Center in Williamston, NC. This year the Farm Heritage Fair is December 7, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It is not just about tractors. It is about how life on the farm in eastern North Carolina used to be. Early on Saturday morning, there is a hog killing.  And you can see how sausage was made on the farm up until the sixties.  You will see parts of the hog you might not want to see. [click to continue…]

Civil War Battle of Fort Branch

Every year on the first weekend in November the Yankees and the Rebels fight the Battle of Fort Branch on the banks of the Roanoke River near Hamilton in eastern North Carolina.

Glimpse life as a Civil War Reenactor in a fun video from ChloesBlog.com. Watch as Confederate soldiers battle the Union army at the Battle of Ft. Branch in NC | chloesblog.com

The Battle of Fort Branch is on the first Sunday in November, but the re-enactors arrive on Thursday, set up camp and go about life as it would have been in 1862.

I took a video of the battle. That day everywhere I went several children followed me. Right smack dab in the middle of this video you can hear this child blurt out, “The dead guy’s walking!” Irritated me at first but now I just smile. If you notice in this video you will see several Ms. Johnny Rebs. And if you see some soldiers or horsemen with sticks instead of guns, that is because they aren’t old enough to have the guns.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/3l4gIV_wAkg[/youtube]

[click to continue…]

Sans Souci Ferry – A Fun Way to Cross the Cashie River

The Sign Says it Best:  “Blow horn for ferry.”

Sans Souci Ferry on the Cashie River in eastern North Carolina | chloesblog.com
See the tiny house across the river? That is the other ferry dock.

The San Souci Cable Ferry crosses the Cashie River in eastern North Carolina near Windsor in Bertie County.

Lest you ever try to tell anyone about this ferry, first — you must have a language lesson. Forget the Southern part, that is a given. The local part is more important. [click to continue…]

Lost Colony Outdoor Drama – what Happened?

The mystery – What happened to the Lost Colony? Are they in Manteo or maybe still in eastern North Carolina?

Lost Colony Outdoor Drama | chloesblog.com

In 1587, a colony of 120 souls established the first English Colony in this new world on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Three years later when John White returned from England with supplies, the colony had vanished. He found only the word “Croatoan” carved into a tree. Recently researchers have found a clue that the colonists may have moved to Bertie County — to what is now an Arnold Palmer Golf Course. [click to continue…]

Hand Drawn Map of Big Mill B&B

I love our new hand-drawn B&B farm map – made just for Big Mill

Hand Drawn Map of Big Mill B and B Farmstead in Eastern NC

Lydia at Hand-Drawn Maps is a very talented English artist and she has drawn a map just for Big Mill B&B and the farm.

I love the outbuildings here on the farm – they are almost 100 years old. We have the Smoke House where my folks cured sausage and hams and stored the lard and fatback to feed five families; the Wash House where my mother heated the water with wood to wash the clothes; the Pack House where the mules lived; the Sweet Potato House where they cured the sweet potatoes; the Chicken Coop where we had chickens – my job was to gather the eggs. [click to continue…]