About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

Ideas. Well incubated.

Long before Sears rebranded themselves to represent “Life. Well Spent,” even before they revealed their Softer Side, they sold farm incubators. Like these, from the 1951 Sears general merchandise catalog. The incubator I have at home is the first one on the page; it sold for $18.50 in 1951. My husband Mike bought ours for $20 eight years ago at the Moose Lake chicken swap. There’s one right now on eBay for $149.99. You can see why I’m starting a business with this guy.

With the exception of one industrious hen, our free-range chickens tend to lay eggs with the forethought of squirrels burying acorns for the winter. They’ll start a nest, walk away, and begin another nest somewhere else. That leaves it to Mike and me to collect forgotten eggs from atop hay bales and from inside every nook and cranny imaginable.

It takes 21 days for chicken eggs to incubate. A person using an incubator is providing the same nesting functions as a hen. Keeping the eggs warm. Turning them over regularly. Moistening them with water so the chicks have an easier time pecking their way out of the shells. 

A few days before Hatch Day we prepare a container, a cardboard box or perhaps an old cooler, for the new arrivals. The container is lined with a layer of pine shavings, is equipped with a waterer and a feeder filled with chick starter, and has a heat lamp trained on it. No matter how many clutches of eggs you’ve incubated, the first peeps heard from inside the shell never cease to delight. By the time the chick pecks its way out of the shell it is exhausted, slumped on the bedding like a person who has washed up on the ocean shore. If you're thinking of starting a summertime project with your kids, this site has good information about the hows, whens, and whys of successful incubation.

It doesn’t take 21 days for an idea to hatch, but all ideas benefit from an incubation period: overnight, an hour, or even a few minutes working on something unrelated to clear your mental palate. Letting an idea steep—or as my friend Richard calls it, marinate—allows you to return to the project with a fresher perspective and the ability to find a solution that you may have not seen before. 

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