Life and Death on the Farm on My Summer Vacation

Dr. Patricia Farrell
6 min readAug 21, 2022

A visit with my mom to my aunt's egg farm was supposed to get me out of the city for a few weeks, and I never knew what awaited me wasn't always fun.

Photo by Mickaela Scarpedis-Casper on Unsplash

Two weeks with my mother in the country at my aunt's egg farm seemed like a dream vacation. I never suspected it would bring me face-to-face with the realities of farming, animals, and life lessons.

The bus ride was new for me, and at ten years old, I was thrilled to be looking out the window as meadowlands passed by us, and we slipped down the highway at speeds I had never experienced. An egg farm was also out of my experience, and during the two weeks we would be there, I would quickly learn what egg farmers do. More lessons were awaiting me, but I didn't know it then.

That year, the drought had taken its toll, and my uncle took me along in his old, flatbed truck to visit a neighboring farm. I envisioned fields of ripe tomatoes, tasseled corn, and lush plants full of raspberries; instead, we met a farmer on the verge of tears.

Behind him lay the cracked earth, its crazy quilt of grooves, in the parched gray ground. A single, bent raspberry bush clung to life. He leaned over and picked a few berries for me. The rest of the field was lost to the lack of water. That was lesson number one in my first week; the environment was harsh for farmers.

During the day, my aunt sewed linings into women’s winter coats at a local factory. Evenings after dinner were spent with my aunt in the basement, candling eggs and separating them into those with single, double, and even triple yolks. All of these were put into special containers for the man who would come twice a week to pick up the eggs and take them to market.

Have you ever seen the inside of an egg? Placing the delicate shell in front of light reveals everything inside that little orb.

Spotting any speck in the egg would mean the egg was rejected by the state's rigorous standards set forth by the egg licensing board. But, since there were no roosters on the farm, specks were an anomaly and not the indication that the egg was fertilized. Yes, some people like to buy fertilized eggs, but not at my aunt and uncle's farm.

The Duties on the Farm



Dr. Patricia Farrell

Dr. Farrell is a psychologist, consultant, author, interested in flash fiction writing (, and health.