Picking Peanuts in Eastern North Carolina

Picking peanuts reminds me of growing up in eastern North Carolina. My nephew Barney and I loved to play hide-and-seek in the peanut fields. Back then, the peanuts were dug and stacked on poles to dry. We loved to hide behind these stacks and to climb them, much to the dismay of my parents. All the children in the neighborhood joined us and we stayed out until way after dark. Sadly, the peanut stacks are gone.

Peanut Stacks on the Farm at Big Mill B&B in 1960

Peanuts Drying in the Fields in eastern North Carolina

These days, farmers dig the peanuts from the ground and leave them in the fields to dry. Then they come through with the Peanut Pickers that pick up the peanuts — vines and all. Out of the back of this Peanut Picker will come the dried vines that have been separated from the peanuts. Later, another machine will come along and bale this peanut hay.

Folks often ask me what is upstairs in the Pack House loft. Well, it used to be full of peanut hay that was used all year to feed the mules. I remember the sight and smell of it as if it were yesterday. And, truthfully, sometimes you can still smell the peanut hay; just like you can still smell curing tobacco on hot August nights.

There are newer, fancier machines than this one, but these older versions are my favorites. These peanuts belong to Bill Griffin, my next door neighbor. Click to see video of Peanuts being Picked

Mule Room Suite — Perfect for Long-Term Rentals

When I was growing up we had mules: Big Red, Little Red, Rock, Kit and Mary. There were other mules before my time, but I don’t remember their names.

Big Mill B+B is a Farmstead Inn, located in Williamston in Eastern North Carolina. The old mule barn has been converted into the Mule Room Suite. It's perfect for long-term guests who want all the comforts of home - including a full kitchen. See more photos and read about the newly renovated Mule Room on Chloe's Blog. | @bigmill.com

The living room in the Mule Room Suite has great views of the lakes

We have spiffed up our mule Mary’s quarters and we call her home the Mule Room Suite. Much discussion went into what to call it. A good friend wanted me to call it a shed, but on this farm sheds only have 3 sides. Click to read more about the Mule Room — past and present …

Big Mill Barn Quilt and the Tar and Roanoke River Quilt Trails

The most easterly Barn Quilt on North Carolina’s Quilt Trail is on the Pack House barn at Big Mill B&B in Williamston, NC. I just love it!

The eastern-most barn quilt trails in North Carolina comprise the Tar River Quilt Trail. The most easterly barn quilt is on the Pack House barn at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast near Greenville NC @BigMill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-nc-barn-quilt-tar-river-quilt-trail

Barn Quilt in eastern NC at Big Mill B&B in Williamston

I used to go to Quilting Bees with my mother when I was a child. I would play under the quilt all by myself. There were no other children.

The ladies made such beautiful works of art. Mother would sew the pieces of fabric together and let me help. When it was all pieced together, we put it in the frame along with the backing and the batting. Then Mother’s friends would come for several days until the quilt was quilted. My father used to make cotton and wool batts for his mother to quilt. I wish I had gotten him to show me how.

In 1976, everyone had caught Bicentennial Fever and felt patriotic so Mother (also named Chloe) made a quilt of red, white and blue. Click to read more about Barn Quilts and Miss Chloe’s LaMoyne Star …

Bill’s Hot Dogs – Eastern NC’s Best Hot Dog

Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington, NC is an institution

Bills Hot Dogs is a Mom and Pop eatery that serves up great hot dogs in Washington NC. Read more on Chloes Blog. @Bigmill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/bills-hot-dogs-eastern-north-carolinas-best-hot-dog

Bill’s Hot Dogs in Little Washington, NC

It doesn’t matter if you like hot dogs or not — you just have to eat a Bill’s hot dog if you are in Washington, North Carolina. Bill’s has been open as a hot dog “stand” since 1928 and it hasn’t changed much; not that I can see.

Located on Gladden Street in “Little” Washington, NC, it is just a short distance from the Pamlico River. Bill’s is an institution for most everyone who has ever lived in Washington or eastern North Carolina. For the locals, this is Road Food at its best. Click to read More about Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington, NC

Chloe’s Big Mill Barn Quilt : Behind-the-Scenes

Big Mill B&B is going to be part of the Tar River Quilt Trail

The Eastern side of North Carolina is joining the Barn Quilt Movement with the first quilt block going up on the barn at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast in Williamston, NC. This quilt square will become part of the Tar River Quilt Trail. Learn more on the NC innkeeper's blog. @bigmill www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-bed-breakfast-barn-quilt-williamston-nc

Kim Young & Chloe Tuttle examine Quilt Block for Big Mill’s Barn Quilt

How did the Big Mill B&B barn quilt idea and project happen? In essence, I read about the American Quilt Trail and I wanted to be part of it. I picked a favorite quilt pattern – one that my mother made. And I joined the Tar River Quilt Trail, it is now the Tar-Roanoke River Quilt Trail.  This pattern is being painted on plywood and will be installed on the side of my Pack House Barn here on the farm. Click to read more about Barn Quilts in North Carolina …

Somerset Place Plantation

Somerset Place Plantation in Creswell, NC, is off the beaten path.

Somerset Place Plantation in eastern North Carolina is an easy day trip from Big Mill B&B | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/somerset-place-plantation/

Somerset is isolated. That is one of the reasons it is so haunting.

In 1860, Somerset Place Plantation near Creswell, NC had 328 slaves, making it the third largest plantation in North Carolina.  At one time it encompassed 100,000 acres of land and swamp sitting on the shores of Lake Phelps right in the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina, which meant drainage ditches, canals, mosquitoes and basically not an easy life. To read more about Somersest click here

Southern Molasses Pudding Cake Recipe

Molasses is a staple in the south – we use molasses for everything.

Molasses pudding with Bourbon Sauce is a southern staple | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/southern-molasses-pudding-cake-recipe

Molasses Pudding with Bourbon Sauce is a southern tradition

It seemed like everybody’s grandmother made Molasses Pudding and it was always a treat. In some parts of the country, it might be called Molasses Cake, but southerners call it Molasses Pudding. Once you add the Bourbon Sauce, it does seem more like a pudding.

Friend Nancy and I set out to recreate this old-fashioned southern recipe and we did it! We added the Bourbon Pecan Sauce to spice it up. Southerners love molasses and use it everywhere. Read more about Molasses and Chloe’s Molasses Pudding Cake

The Church Moved by the Hand of God

There is a small wood frame church in Swan Quarter, North Carolina, that was truthfully moved by the hand of God.

Church moved by the Hand of God in Hyde County, NC. This is a story so unbelievable, even Snopes had to verify it is authentic. Read more on Chloe''s Blog. | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/the-church-moved-by-the-hand-of-god

Church Moved by the Hand of God traveled by itself to sit on this lot.

In 1874, members of this small congregation in eastern North Carolina tried in vain to buy a piece of land from a Mr. Sam Sadler in order to build a church. This lot was perfect –it was higher land than any other lot in town.

Mind you, almost all of Hyde County is barely above sea level, so a higher lot was important. Mr. Sadler vehemently refused to sell.

The congregation then accepted a gift of another lot behind the courthouse and soon they had a basic structure for the church. It was a simple wood building on piers called the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

Folks began worshiping in this new church. On the eve of the dedication, September 16, 1876, a big storm was brewing out in the Pamlico Sound. By the next day, September 17th, a full force hurricane hit all of Hyde County; Swan Quarter was under 5 feet of water. Click to find out what happened next – it’s quite amazing!

Chloe’s Journey to Spinning and Knitting a Hat

My love affair with knitting started years ago when I adopted my sheep, Maggie Belle and Yorick

Innkeeper Chloe Tuttle's handspun yarn will be knit into a hat | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/spinning-and-knitting-alpaca-fleece

I was a graduate student at East Carolina University in  fiber arts, with a specialty in spinning and natural dyeing. I had lots of wonderful hand-spun yarn, but I never learned how to knit until friend Jody taught me a few months ago. Click to read more about Chloe’s hand-spun yarn

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. Read more about WPA Post Office murals