I have related the events of day 18 in our hatching attempt last fall, and I have outlined some of the differences in approach that we identified for our second attempt this last spring.

A little over six months apart, I can’t even begin to calculate the odds that on the same day of our egg maturation that we would, again, be faced with a power outage.  We beat the odds.  On Day 18, the power went out, again.

The storm came through at a little past 9:00 in the evening, dumping buckets of rain in a matter of seconds.  As we looked out the front door of Grandma’s house, I suggested, seeing the rain blowing sideways, that we wait a few minutes before loading the car to drive around the block to our house.  In five minutes the storm had blown through, the rain had stopped, and the power, flickering at first, went black.

Racing around the block we noticed that branches and leaves littered the road, and our neighbor on the upper corner (we live in the middle of the block) had a sixty year old pine tree lying across the power lines.  Grabbing a penlight, we confirmed our fears that the incubator was off with a temperature reading of 90 degrees–already a full, ten degrees cold.

With no power, no indication of power returning anytime soon (there would be more trees across the roads all around the neighborhood) and no backup generator, I grabbed a raincoat and boots, Becca grabbed a heavy winter coat and with chicks in the incubator, we began driving around with the heat on high angling the lid to catch the hot air.

Driving around we were able to survey the damage of what, we would learn later, was a “tornadic event.”  The news and weather service would not call it a tornado (perhaps for the sheer, straight winds that were also detected), but there were lots of twisted debris going all directions. Driving around we were also able to determine that the power knocked out all of the gas stations, Wal-Mart and the regional Meijer stores.  When the low gas light came on in the 4Runner, this became an issue.

Realizing that the power would be out for quite a while, gas running low in the 4Runner and Becca sweating buckets in her winter coat, we opted to devise a plan B.

Plan B consisted of finding a source of power.  Our options were limited: Papa had a small generator that he couldn’t get to work, and I remembered a auto-power converter that would plug into a cigarette lighter/power source in the car and allow a house plug connector to be powered.  We started with the generator after I searched the house for a half hour looking for the power converter.

Another half hour later, after using all of the gas in our mower can on the generator that would not start, I was, again, looking for the power adapter.  I gave up.  We borrowed Papa’s Yukon and continued to drive around, this time looking no only for gasoline, but also a handy little power converter.  It was not 1:00 in the morning.

Just shy of 2:00 in the morning, we decided that if a gas station was open in the area (only one that we could find), it was definitely not carrying a specialized power adapter.  So we carried the incubator into Grandma’s house, updated Tori on our search and looked to come up with a new plan.  Five minutes later I was locating the adapter in the location that Tori indicated that it would be.  I should have started there to begin with.

With our car out of gas, we backed up the borrowed Yukon, plugged in the adapter toThink 1 takes a look an extension cord and plugged in the incubator.  With the heat from the car and Becca’s constant attention, we had maintained temperature to within a few degrees of optimal.   By waking up and starting the car a few times during the night, our ramshackle power work-around carried us through the next morning when power, thankfully, was restored.

All eleven eggs made it hatching.