Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Interview With: Patsy Webb (70)

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Interview With: Patsy Webb (70)

Article excerpt

Address: Alexander Farms, 624 Woodlake Rd., Midway, KY 40347

On: 4/6/2015,1:11pm

I met Patsy Webb at her little white house in the middle of the Alexander Farms. She took me around to show me her cows and the farm grounds. We did the interview in her kitchen, with her elderly mother watching TV in the living room. The grass on the grounds was freshly cut. There were piles of tree branches, setup for bonfires across the grounds. I came within inches of the cows on this farm, and at one point, a couple of them almost stampede over me.

Faktorovich: How did you first become exposed to agriculture? Did you start farming as a child? If so, under what circumstances?

Webb: My parents farmed. They milked cows and raised tobacco, took care of cattle. Daddy stripped tobacco, pulled it down. Later I stayed home, raised the boys and farmed alongside Jason, my husband. Raised three boys on the farm and six grandsons, all still come back down to help me out. I would feed the cows as a child, would go with daddy. At one point, dad raised animals on a farm, hogs, sheep, and raised tobacco. My brother and I would help out with setting, striping and chopping tobacco. When I was five or six years old, I helped take care of the crop. It was hilarious to milk cows, we were all so little and were hand-milking them. They would squirt milk all over you, or somebody else. As we grew older, us kids would go out in the field to pick up leaves and walnuts to sell. We tried to grow sorghum, but that didn't work because the wind blew the stalks down so that they were all covered in mud, so we had to give it up. The owner spent a fortune on that project, built a building up there, bought equipment, and stored many cases of the packaged sorghum. Sorghum is a seed head of the sunflowers. There is juice is at the bottom inches, where there are tussles like on corn.

Faktorovich: Was your family involved in farming? Did they start in this field or did they do something else before this?

Webb: We've been here in Kentucky for 30 years and in Bourbon country for 20. Mom and daddy (mom is ninety now) worked in a sowing factory in Harrison (Nike sneaker wear) all those years. We lived on a farm that daddy took care of. It was nothing to have a little pig in a box under the wood stove, or a little calf. Jason, who later became my husband, lived on a neighboring farm for us and we were friends for three years. When I met Jason, he always wanted to get into cattle, so after we married we bought cattle.

Our oldest son wants to farm now. He went to mechanic school. His heart is in farming. He loves it. He and Gerald grew up in farming, helping on the farm. When his daddy passed away, he had a tough time, "Mom I want to work on the farm, do the grain." We had a tough time convincing him, saying, "You went to technical school to be where you are today." But he wants a calf operation. That's what dreams are made off. I tell him that when you retire, you can get yourself some land and some calves. You didn't work 17 years to get to where you are today and then just start farming. I've been discouraging the kids from farmers. Now I'm finding out that you can't even farm on social security because there isn't enough money to pay out all of the expenses. The weather plays against us year-in-year-out, and so many family farms are wiped off the map. The cattle market is the highest it's ever been. But, how long is it going to last? Still, I love farming. It's the peace, and it's being your own boss. I just I grew up with it and leaving it would be hard for me. I can be in the middle of doing something in the house, and I just stop and ride out and back up on some hill and just watch, and just sit there for hours, and it's just peaceful.

Faktorovich: Did your family buy land specifically intending to farm when they started or did their house come with a farming plot?

Webb: I don't know anyone on either side of the family that paid rent, couldn't afford it. …

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