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Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park is a fascinating world of birds

See owls and endangered birds at Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park near bigmill.com

There are more than two thousand birds from six continents in Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park located in Scotland Neck in eastern North Carolina. It is truly a bird watcher’s paradise!  In fact, it features the largest collection of waterfowl in the world.  [click to continue…]

Washing Berries in a Vinegar Wash

Does washing strawberries in a vinegar wash keep them fresh longer? 

Want your fresh berries to last up to a week longer? Here's the recipe for a vinegar wash used at Big Mill B and B near Greenville, NC  |  bigmill.com

Everyone has an opinion.  I think you should at least give it a try, then decide. I know the vinegar wash works for me, but then I think white vinegar is “gold.” We use it here at Big Mill B&B for an eco-friendly cleaning product. I also use it as a fabric softner.

So if you want to try the much-lauded and oft denied vinegar wash, here is the recipe: [click to continue…]

Come and celebrate Sage at the Second  Annual Sage Festival in Windsor, North Carolina. The festivities kick off on Friday night, May 30th with a street dance downtown on Granville Street. There will be three bands, farm equipment displays and vendors and lots of stuff about sage. The festival continues on Saturday May 31st downtown Windsor.

Sage festival in Windsor, NC will be fun | chloesblog.com

Bertie County and the surrounding counties in eastern North Carolina grow 15,000 acres of Clary Sage. This sage is in the Salvia family; I remember my mother calling the red salvia that is so popular “scarlet sage.” Clary Sage is a beautiful plant that grows upright and blooms with vibrant, mostly purple flowers. [click to continue…]

Little Raisin Fur Person came to live at Big Mill in November of 2012. I have wanted to write about her for a long time, but she has been in motion – I couln’t get a picture of her. I finally have a photo, but only one. Meet Raisin:

Raisin, is the Big Mill Bed and Breakfast innkeeper's new kitty. Come meet her next time you're visiting eastern NC and want to stay at a farmstead B&B.

When I was little, my sister and brother had already moved out. But they left stuff behind – my brother John left all his 78 rpm records, so I played them all. My favortie song was Brazen Little Raisin. (you need to listen to this fun song).

Brazen Little Raisin

It seems that a little grape didn’t listen to his mama – he stayed in the sun too long and he became a raisin:

“way out in California where the sunbeams shine
a little grape was hanging on a big grape vine.
Mama Grape said, “Careful, don’t get too much sun,
’cause grapes turn in to raisins when they’re too well done.”

So all these years I have wanted a cat named Moses; that I have done. I wanted a cat named Sausage; that I have done. And now I have Raisin. She’s sweet, albeit strange and a bit shy.  She would love to meet you. There was also a record about a big baboon at the Animal Fair. I do NOT want a cat named Baboon – or, maybe I do?

Innkeeper’s Suet Recipe
Our special Earth Day gift to birds here at Big Mill Bird & Breakfast

Suet recipe lures chipping sparrow to Big Mil B&B, a bird-friendly bed and breakfast near Greenville, NC

Earth Day 2013 is just around the corner, so it seemed like a perfect time to celebrate the birds we love with a suet recipe they delight in eating.

When I am cooking for the bed and breakfast guests, I also make suet for our lovely feathered travelers. And this suet recipe is made from things that we all have in our larders, especially innkeepers. Recipe below is easy!  [click to continue…]

The mighty Roanoke River is heaven for the Rock Fish Fisherman

Rock Fish fishing in North Carolina | chloesblog.com(Rock fish – Striper in the Roanoke River – photo courtesy Mitchell Blake)

Beginning in March, 2013, the entire Roanoke River basin is open for Rock Fish fishing or Stripers with some rules, of course. The minimum limit is 18 inches and only one river bass above 27 inches can be kept, in the creel, as they say. [click to continue…]

Love Affair with PEEPS

Americans have a love affair with our marshmallow PEEPS

Marshmallow Peeps served to guests at Big Mill B&B for Easter | chloesblog.com

… and we eat more than our share – we will eat 600 million PEEPS this Easter. (I call them all PEEPS, even if they are bunnies.)

PEEPS marshmallow candy – those bright-colored chicks and bunnies that we see at Easter have a long history. In 1953, it took 27 hours to make one Peep. Now the factory in Bethlehem, PA makes a billion a year. The first PEEPS were squeezed out of a pasty tube and the eyes were painted on by hand. Each PEEP is a character – as they settle the nose and eyes rearrange and they get a personality. [click to continue…]

Message of Easter Outdoor Drama

The Message of Easter – a free outdoor drama near Williamston, NC

Outdoor drama Message of Easter near Williamston, NC

For thirty five years, the folks of Piney Grove Baptist Church in the Farm Life Community near Williamston, NC, have been performing  this 90-minute outdoor drama of the life and death of Jesus Christ.

We love outdoor dramas here in North Carolina.  These home town folks put on a big city drama. Every year they give their time and talents to bring this message to all who will listen. [click to continue…]

Rutabaga Soup Recipe

When I was growing up we always had a winter garden of all kinds of greens and root vegetables, including turnips and rutabagas.

Rutabaga soup recipe warms the soul | chloesblog.com

In cold weather my mother would make rutabaga rice soup that I now associate with life on the farm, warm fires and being happy. Other than my family members, no one I know has ever heard of this soup. If you like rutabagas, give it a try. Even if you aren’t sure if you like rutabagas, give it a try. You might surprise yourself.  Recipe below is easy. [click to continue…]

Bird lovers everywhere will join in the 2013
Great Backyard Bird Count on February 15 – 18th

bird watching in eastern North Carolina at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast
(Photo by Guy Livesay)

We love the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. It’s easy to participate and it helps the birds. You sign up on the website and agree to count birds for at least 15 minutes on at least one of the 4 days of the bird count, more if you want. Everyone is welcome. You don’t need to be an expert.  Sign up is easy and free.

We have always had birds here at Big Mill. When I was growing up, my father would tell me the name of each bird by the song it sang. Oh, how I wish I had that gift.  [click to continue…]