Debbie Roberts of Fayette County says she didn’t grow up farming, but since she married Joe 35 years ago, Debbie has been a full-time farm wife.
“My dad was a mechanic, so I saw him work on a few tractors, but I’d never been on a tractor until Joe put me on one and told me to start disking,” she explains.
She and Joe gave up row crop production several years ago in a move she calls semi-retirement, but the couple still operates eight broiler houses.
“Joe’s great-granddaddy once farmed this property. Joe was lying in the feeder pan from the time he was a month old, and our kids were raised in the chicken houses, too,” Debbie says with a laugh. And Debbie embraced farm life from the very beginning of their marriage. “Before Joe and I built our house, we lived in a little block house right next to the chicken houses for seven years. It was free, and we didn’t have to walk far to go to work,” she jokes.
She adds that her first days as a farm wife also marked the beginning of her cooking.
“I learned on my own out of necessity, finding a recipe I wanted to try and tweaking on it to suit us. Growing up, my sister was the one cooking and I was always outside. She’s actually quite amazed I cook now,” says Debbie.
Debbie says when she isn’t busy with farm work she and Joe enjoy spending time with their five grandchildren, all of who are under the age of 5.
“My daughter, Jill, has three kids, and they live about a half-mile from us, so we spend a lot of time with them. Our son, Jeff, and his family live in Georgia, but we stay in touch through Skype and Facebook. The Internet allows us to be a part of their daily lives, a blessing we couldn’t enjoy otherwise,” explains Debbie.
“We’re also very active in our church, Calvary Baptist, and Joe and I keep the nursery babies during Sunday school. We also enjoy spending time at our house on Lake Smith, and we love taking the grandchildren there,” she says.
Debbie and Joe also have given long-time service to the Farmers Federation. Joe is the current president of the Fayette County Federation, and Debbie has served as their county secretary since she and Joe married.
Because Debbie’s days have always been filled with her work on the farm, she says her cooking focuses on items that don’t require a lot of preparation.
“I look for short-cuts, food that I can cook quickly or something I can prepare ahead of time, put it in the oven, and let it cook while I’m gone,” she describes.
Debbie offers two decadent bread recipes that begin with the convenience of frounceen dough, and refreshing desserts that assemble quickly. Debbie also includes the recipe for her Mama’s Sunday Roast, which she often prepares Saturday evenings and sticks back in the oven Sunday morning before leaving for church.