Old Red Truck – Mascot of Big Mill B&B Extended Stay

Every farm and definitely every farm girl needs an old red truck. Somebody must agree because photos of old red trucks are everywhere – on fancy dishes, Christmas decorations, everywhere you look.

Photo of Old Red Truck at Big Mill B&B

A guest Edna Perkinson Painted this Portrait of Old Red Truck

One Christmas I parked my Old Red Truck in front of the Pack House and decorated it with a Christmas tree and wreath with sparkling fairy lights everywhere. It certainly was popular with my guests and anyone who rode by.

When January came, Old Red didn’t want to go back under the shelter. Nephew Monk had to bring his big tractor and drag her out of the yard.

Other folks seem to like old red trucks too:  friends got together and had Old Red sit for a portrait. I love it. I have old red truck dish towels, sheets, dishes, door mats … these things just keep turning up.

photo of Old Red Truck on the farm at Big Mill B&B

Old Red Portrait – a Gift From Friends Painted by J. Roberson

Renowned photo artist, Stacey Haines, took my portrait in Old Red. This special truck has certainly been a topic of artistic merit!

I must tell the truth — when David Tuttle left the farm he told me I could keep that “piece of junk old truck,” so I did. I am determined to keep her running, maybe not on the road, but “farm worthy.” She has caught on fire three times, not really her fault. I think David wants her back!

She has a 1973 body and a 1966 engine (390 C.I.D. S-code). Like me, she can use her age to her advantage – her tags are cheaper. If older is better, Old Red is getting greater!  This truck is a “shade tree mechanics” nirvana. It was under these pecan trees that David Tuttle used a Come-Along to remove Old Red’s original engine and install a Thunderbird engine.

Photo David Tuttle at Big Mill B&B

Shade Tree Mechanic David Tuttle

I have replaced the tires ($20 each), water pump, starter, carburetor, ignition key, gas tank and gauge, and other stuff I can’t even remember. I am determined to keep Old Red in the family.

Hopefully, the next time I see you, Old Red will be running!

YES, we are open and we hope you will come and stay at Big Mill B&B Extended Stay.  Come enjoy the benefits of home while away from home for your next traveling job or contract in eastern North Carolina.

photo of Chloe's signature

Big Mill B&B Extended Stay Lodging. 1607 Big Mill Road, Williamston, NC 27892. Tel. 252-792-8787 cell is 252-799-8787, info@bigmill.com and www.bigmill.com

DISTANCES to Hospitals and Towns from Big Mill B&B in Williamston, NC:

Greenville, NC: Vidant Hospital, ECU School of Medicine – 27 miles (country roads)
Washington, NC: Vidant Hospital, Ridgewood Rehab, River Trace Rehab – 21 miles (easy 4-lane drive)
Windsor, NC: Vidant Hospital, Brian Center, Three Rivers Health & Rehab Center – 17 miles (east 4-lane drive)
Windsor, NC: Bertie Rural Health – 20 miles (easy 4-lane drive)
Ahoskie, NC: Vidant – 37  miles (easy 4-lane drive)
Tarboro, NC: Vidant Edgecomb Hospital, Parkwood Village Retirement Center, – 33 miles (easy 4-lane drive)
Plymouth, NC: Domtar Paper – 30 miles (easy 4-lane drive)
Edenton, NC: Vidant Chowan County – 37 miles (easy 4-lane drive)
and North Carolina’s Outer Banks!!! are 85 miles

Extended Stay Lodging Eastern NC – Home Away from Home

Nurses, doctors and folks doing Locum Tenens work who need lodging in eastern North Carolina for short and long-term stays will find Big Mill B&B rooms, suites and apartments the perfect Home Away from Home.

Aerial view of Farm Pond in NC

The fish are biting at Big Mill B&B Extended Stay
near Greenville, Washington, Plymouth, Windsor, Ahoskie in eastern N.C.

We offer special long-term rates and and most reservations qualify for tax-free stays. Rates range from $250 to $400 week. All of our spaces have outside entrances. Each suite has a kitchenette and a local grocery store has curb-side pickup for groceries and other things you might need.

Renovated suite in Pack House at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast in eastern NC

Our Largest Suite –  the Pack House Suite –  has Full Kitchen
This very private suite has kitchen, large subway tile bath, large sitting area and separate bedroom. Just outside your door is your own private patio.  

Renovated room in old Pack House at Big Mill

Mule Room Suite Kitchen Opens onto the Brick Breezeway
This very private suite has views of the lake from every room, honey-colored pine floors, bead-board and tobacco stick ceiling, tiled bath, separate bedroom, art from Central America and a kitchen with colorful Mexican tile.

Suite in Bed and Breakfast outside entrance

 Mardi Gras Suite with Kitchenette has 2 Spacious First-floor Rooms
The suite overlooks landscaped grounds and opens onto the patio outside your door – perfect for morning coffee. The den – kitchen area has glazed brick floors and a stone fireplace.                

Click to find out more about Big Mill Extended Stay

Effie’s Switch House French Dressing

Aunt Effie’s Switch-House Salad Dressing (Miss Effie’s Dressing)

My Aunt Effie ran an after-hours place called The Switch, so named because it was beside the “switch” for the railroad tracks. It was a popular spot for night owls, tobacco buyers and peanut graders who were in town during the harvest season.

The Switch After Hours Steak House phoyo

The Switch After-Hours Steak House was a Jumping Place in its Day

Teeney cooked the best steaks on a cast iron wood-burning stove. Yes, all the food was cooked on a wood-burning stove. The menu was T-bone steak, baked potato and tossed salad with Effie’s famous dressing. Aunt Effie told me it was her recipe — we will never know. I do know it was good.

Sweet tart salad dressing photo

Effie’s Sweet Tart Salad Dressing is Perfect for Mixed Green Salads

Click to get Recipe for Effie’s Dressing

Bless Your Heart – and Other Southern Sayings

“Bless your heart” – a Southern way to say you’re fat or not quite acceptable. If you only learn ONE southern idiom, it must be “Bless your heart.”

Southern lady photo from Big Mill B&B

Sweet Southern Lady Saying, “Bless Your Heart.”

You can say anything about anybody, then say, “Bless her heart,” and it is alright. “She certainly has fleshed up – she looks like a bale of hay – bless her heart.” It is the accepted retort if someone relays some sad or unflattering news about another person. The listener will then reply, “Well, bless his heart.”

Even my transplanted Yankee friends have had to learn this one. Bless your heart gives us southerners carte blanche to say something not so nice about folks, and then be forgiven immediately.

If you don’t speak our language, you will most likely hear from the cashier at the check-out in the grocery store, “You ain’t from ’round here, are you?” And we are ALWAYS right. As soon as you open your mouth, we know you are not from around here. We do get some blank stares from folks who hail from above the Mason Dixon line.

Hurrah's Next or messy hair photo from Chloe's Blog

The Perfect Southern Word for a Mess – Hurrah’s Nest

This was something that my mother would often say. She would tell me, “Your Aunt Effie’s hair looks like a hurrah’s nest.” I moved away, I said it and folks laughed at me. Then one day I didn’t say it anymore. That is too bad. I could never find it in my dictionary – until last night. I said it to my phone, “What is a hurrah’s nest.” Eureka, I found it! It was there in Webster. It means “an untidy heap, a mess.”

There are many words and phrases that I heard when I was growing up in the south – more specifically, eastern North Carolina. I spoke these words too, until I left home. Then, almost daily, someone would look at me and say, “What did you say?” It was then that I realized not everyone used those wonderful old expressions.  Unfortunately, I removed them from my vocabulary. Now I am adding them back. Click to see more wonderful southern expressions

Chicken Mull – The Forgotten Comfort Food

I had never heard of Chicken Mull until a few years ago. And then I found out that the Chicken Mull Festival happens 8 miles from me in Bear Grass, NC, population 69.  This year, the festival is on Saturday, October 28, 2023. My friend Nancy Sparks had a great recipe for Chicken Mull, so we made it and here it is. It is really quite good!

Chicken Mull – What Is It?

Author: Chloe Tuttle


  • Several quarts water
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½-1 teaspoon cracked red pepper or to taste
  • 1 T lard
  • 1 3-4 pound chicken cut up (larger is fine too) You will need about 4 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 box of Saltine Crackers salted (you will probably use 2-3 sleeves)
  • Hot sauce for serving


  • Using a large stock pot, add several quarts of water, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and lard and bring to a boil.

  • Add cut-up chicken and enough water to cover the chicken. Return to a boil and cook for 1-2 hours or until chicken is tender and falling off the bones.

  • Remove chicken from broth and strain into a large bowl, reserving any broth.

  • After chicken has cooled, pull meat off the bones, discarding the bones and the skin. Tear chicken into shreds, using your hands. Be careful to remove all bones.

  • Strain and transfer the broth to a separate pan or bowl and wash the cooking pot to remove the chicken residue that is stuck on the sides of the pot. Add the broth back to the pot.

  • When the broth comes back to a boil, add the picked chicken to the pot and turn heat to simmer.

  • Crush 2 sleeves of saltines and slowly add to the pot. Stir and continue to simmer. The mull should not have much excess liquid. If there is liquid, add more crackers.

  • Simmer on low heat about 20 minutes or until hot and thickened, stirring often – hence the Mull moniker.

  • Hint: it is better the next day – the red pepper has a chance to be heard!

  • Yield: 6-7 two-cup servings

Click to learn the history of Chicken Mull and to see about the Festival

Popcorn Sutton & His Moonshine Likker

Popcorn Sutton was a short, squirrelly dude with a trashy mouth, and I can’t help but be fascinated by his persona.

Popcorn Sutton and his shop photo

READER BEWARE: Popcorn had a smart mouth and made some lewd signs depicted in the photos that he sent to me.

Click to see photos and story of Popcorn Sutton – BEWARE – some are lewd.

Pozole – Mexican Hominy Soup Recipe – Gringo Version

I just love this Pozole Recipe. Pozole is a Mexican Soup that is usually made with pork; this recipe is made with chicken. It can be made in a crock pot if you’d prefer.

Pozole – Mexican Hominy Soup - a Gringo Version

I just love this Pozole Recipe. Pozole is a Mexican Soup that is usually made with pork; this recipe is made with chicken. It can be made in a crock pot if you’d prefer.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: mexican hominy soup, pozole recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 326kcal
Author: Chloe Tuttle


  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled & crushed
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 28 oz chopped tomatoes 1 large can
  • 10 oz red enchilada sauce
  • 46.5 oz hominy, drained 3 cans
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 20 oz white meat chicken breast, drained and broken up 2 cans or use leftover chicken


  • Sauté onion in olive oil in a large pot until onion is translucent. Add garlic and sauté for a couple minutes more.
  • Add chicken broth, chopped tomatoes with their juice, enchilada sauce, drained hominy, salt, and pepper. Simmer until hot.
  • Add chicken and cook at least 30 minutes. It is fine to simmer on the stove or in the crock pot for longer.


Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 1486mg | Potassium: 498mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 19.2mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3.2mg

Pozole Hominy Soup photo from Big Mill B&B

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Gene Eastham shared this recipe with me after he cooked it for me!

click to learn all about HOMINY

The Rich Heritage of Quilt Trails

I know you have seen them off in the distance – a bright splash of color on an old barn. These are “Barn Quilts” and they are a great tribute to our heritage and “the art of rural America.” They honor our long-gone quilters, like my mother Chloe.

Quilt Block painted on old tobacco barn at Moratock Park, WIlliamston, NC

Old Tobacco Barn at Moratock Park with “Tobacco Times” Quilt block

Quilt trails are popping up everywhere the U.S.A. and Canada. You can see them all over the mountains of North Carolina and now we have a trail here in eastern North Carolina. The first barn quilt in Martin County (part of the Tar-Roanoke River Trail) was on the Pack House barn at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast. We now have 12 quilts installed in our county – and more to come. Click to see all the Barn Quilts in and around Williamston, NC

Griffin’s Quick Lunch – a Mom & Pop Icon

Griffin’s Quick Lunch is an Eastern North Carolina Icon – Sadly Griffin’s has closed…An Icon since the 40’s, it is gone.


Griffin's Quick Lunch Diner - Mom and Pop diner in eastern NC is a Mom & Pop icon in Williamston.

Griffin’s Quick Lunch – Mom and Pop Diner in Eastern NC

Griffin’s Quick Lunch, just like many Mom and Pop diners in eastern North Carolina, is a landmark. Unfortunately, we are losing many of these cafes; Williamston is lucky to still have Griffin’s.

If you go to Griffin’s, you MUST try the Banana Fritters. These were first made famous at Cobb’s Corner Restaurant; sadly, Cobb’s is gone. A relative who worked at Cobb’s gave the recipe for her Banana Fritters to her son; he later bought Griffin’s, so now they serve these sweet delights. I have the recipe, but like the recipes my mother passed down, it is just a list of ingredients. I am still trying to make this recipe work. When I do, I will post it.

Click to see specialties of the house at Griffin’s Quick Lunch…

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. There is a certain earthy smell that is everywhere.

Peanut Stacks in eastern NC in early 1040's near Big Mill BandB

Harry Roberson leaning on his Peanut Stacks in Gold Point, NC, circa 1940 (Thanks to Hank Roberson for the use of his grandfather’s photo)

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. Click to see video of Peanuts being Picked