Orrson Custom Farming 2011
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Sunday, 24 July 2011

I hope you are all continuing to stay cool.   Here in this part of Ohio, we have set some records for heat...Wednesday was the hottest that date has been since the previous record was set in 1930.      Makes for long days for people working outside. 

Jim just sent me two pictures to share with you.    He called them "many parts and pieces".    Two gentlemen came from Germany last week to tear into, diagnose, update and fix the problems we have encountered with the cooling system for the hydraulic oil.   I am not sure if they are mechanics or engineers.    They have been working at our dealer, Lowe and Young's shop.    When we stopped up to check on it, this is what it looked like.   



































I absolutely can not fathom how they can ever get it put back together again.    If I were doing it (which we all know is not even a
remote possibility) I would end up with some extra pieces..or would realize
when it was all finished that I had left out something very important.   I guess
this is why they are considered good enough to come all this way to work on it.

We will likely need this machine this coming week.    Beyond my comprehension that it
will be ready to roll that soon.

Thank goodness we have had a couple of nice rains the last couple of days. That heat has really been hard on the crops and they were very much in need of a good drink.    I read that in the Cleveland area they are 4 inches
ahead of normal July rainfall.   We didn't get many of the showers they did.  They always talk about "Lake Effect Snow" in the winter..maybe this is the same theory at work?  Probably not (hey, I never said I worked at the Weather Channel, did I?)

I got a very nice email this week from a family in Michigan who have read the website and blog and were hoping that nothing was wrong, since I have not posted for a while.  Thank you for your concern!    It was great to find out that they bought our old Field Queen (which we often, affectionately, called the Field Bitch) after us and could tell us that it is still running at a farm up near Mackinaw Island.   That made us smile.     It has been fun over the years getting nice feed back from people about these ramblings of mine.


Posted by suzyorr at 9:52 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 July 2011 10:22 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Sorry for the long delay between posts

I am so sorry that I seem to have taken a long summer vacation from the blog.

This has been a different year for us...they have been home more than previously.   I am sorry to report that a couple of our former customers have had financial setbacks and we are not working for
them this year.   We have, however,  picked up a new one who is proving to be a great asset.    I hate that these young men came to the US with their big dreams and trusted a man who clearly did not live up to his promises. They worked so hard and had built beautiful operations.   My heart is heavy for them and wish them all the best in the years ahead as they rebuild their lives.    I know that many seemed to resent these
"Dutch" guys who came in and built these big dairy operations.    Since my grandparents came over to the US with a dream of a better life, I can't fault them for hoping to do the same.    I kind of feel that unless you are of native American genetics, you don't have much room for resentment.   

Anyway, they are taking advantage of this down time to go over and rebrake all of the trucks, getting them ready for what looks to be a very busy fall harvest.    Jon is also working hard trying to find some drivers for the Fall harvest.  Not an
easy job.   

Speaking of drivers...I will admit to you that is one of the reasons I have been lax on keeping the blog
up to date.   One of our former employess has sent me some less than desirable communications and I
decided to back off for a while.   I will tell him that since he was with us, I have gotten myself a very good watchdog and am getting over my adversion to guns.   Jon's son Justin has been working with me on that. This is not a threat...I am just sayin....

The older grands have been busy with their 4-H projects.   Can you believe..after all these years, we only have one heifer going to the Fair this year...and she is the cutest little tiny Jersey.  Yes, a Jersey.    Only Ali decided to take an animal this year.       The other four are taking welding projects.    Megan manufactured 60 brackets to hold thetop screen on the trucks.   Jason is making a tool rack for their house.    Jake and Jim put their heads together
(remember me previously telling you Jim's mom called us "Orrson Experimental Farms") and have invented this thing to use to pull a struck truck out.      Jim quite proudly will tell you that he thinks these kids are amazing welders...he says "I trust my life to every single one of their welds".    I think he might be just a tad bit prejudiced, but agree that their welds are really nice.     Justin is chaffing at the bit as he is only allowed to do stick welding this year as a beginner.   I don't know what his project, it has changed a couple of times

So...there is a thumbnail update on what is going on here.    We are under severe heat alerts ...quite a killer of a heat wave right now.      We did have a wonderful rain on Monday...crops were quite happy for that...and we missed the storms that hit many other areas.      I hope where ever you are reading this, that you are keeping cool.  



Posted by suzyorr at 1:40 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 July 2011 10:24 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Home Again

After coming home last Saturday, Jon and Jim jumped to  spraying.  By putting in a long night and getting started the Sunday at 5 AM, they were able to get all the corn and soybeans sprayed in time to attend Megan's basketball games in the afternoon,

They headed back up to Michigan at 5 AM on Monday morning and were in the field chopping again by 9.   

They were able to finish up that job this afternoon and got back home again about 8 this evening.     

Yesterday afternoon they had a little excitement.  A hydraulic oil reservoir tank cracked along a seam, which released oil.  When the machine started acting up (due to the oil on the belts it turned out) Jon stopped and opened it up.   Even with three sets of eyes watching very closely while Jon was working, it caught on fire.  They were ready with  water and a fire extinguisher, so no damage done.   Just got a lot of extra andrenalin pumping in them all. 

Posted by suzyorr at 9:54 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 July 2011 10:21 PM EDT
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Friday, 10 June 2011
Another hot, humid week

The crew headed out on Tuesday morning to Michigan to assist another cutter with 1600 acres of hay and ryelage.   They have had some good days but just called and said they got some heavy rains last night, so are heading back home for a couple of days until it dries out. 

Here at home we have just been on the edge of a couple of pretty severe storms...we got some rain but, thankfully, missed out on the hail and heavy rains that they got just south and east of us.    We haven't missed out on the 90 degree weather though.    I, personally, am not complaining as I like the hot weather a lot more than the snow and cold just a couple of months ago.

Jim sent a few pictures yesterday.    He said "cutting more air holes in the chopper to cool down the hydro".

Hey, it worked to post pictures today.   I could not get it to work the other day.    


Since it is working, I will post this picture of three of our grands in the new tee shirts we got right before they headed to Michigan.  Since Justin is in his macho man pose you can't read the front very well...it says "MEET THE BIG MAN".   Justin explained to me that this alludes to the fact that the new Krone Big X 1100 has a Mann engine in it.

On Friday four of the grands, my daughter Becca and I did something I hope we never have to do again.    Our area was saddened by our first local death in Afghanistan.     The funeral was held at a school about 12 miles from us, so we went and stood on the route from the school to the cemetery.     Even though we didn't know the young man or any of his family, we felt this would be a good lesson that the freedoms we enjoy come at a huge cost to many people.   Like most communities, our area really showed up to give him a huge farewell.  We, however, picked a farming area where there were no other people standing for quite a distance.    The beauty of the day somehow added to the sadness of the situation.   



Posted by suzyorr at 11:40 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 10 June 2011 5:24 PM EDT
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Sunday, 5 June 2011
Planting done!

I got the call yesterday afternoon at 3:43...with the traditional war whoop...planting is done for this year!   Hurray.   

Then last evening we got a huge storm with lots of wicked lightning and buckets of rain....so good thing we got it all in before that.    

I rode along for a while when I took him his lunch yesterday at noon and it was obvious that the fields really were not fit yet.  In a "normal year" (who remembers what that is?) we would have given it a few more days before trying to plant.   

I was amazed at the guidance system.  Wow.   Seemed funny to be admonished "don't touch the steering wheel" .    Reminded me of McDonald's with all those beepers beeping warning him of something or other.   Thankfully, he knew what they meant and I don't need to.   Because, even though it almost seems like anyone could plant corn with that, we all know that I won't be doing it, don't we?   LOL.   I remember when it was a huge source of pride to see how straight the rows were planted.   Not such an issue now, with the computerized system doing it.   

Now they will race the weather to get spraying done.  The heavy rains last night will keep them out of the fields for a couple of days..and the weeds are really growing...well, like weeds.  

The only good thing about the rain is that meant Jon and Jim were able to go along to watch Megan's high school team play in a basketball "shoot out" at a distant college.    This is the first of her senior year events...so I am very glad they didn't miss it.    Hockey takes me in a different direction.   

In the custom harvester family we have been so sad to read that one of the fellow USCHI member families...Hank and Catherine Hamill... lost both of their young sons in a tornado that destroyed their home in Peidmont OK.   Hank was harvesting in Texas when it hit.   Catherine and their daughter were badly hurt but are recovering, as is the precious life Catherine is carrying.     Life can change in a blink of the eye.    Cherish your family every minute you have them!      

Posted by suzyorr at 9:12 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 5 June 2011 9:23 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

They were able to finish up down in Sugarcreek on Sunday afternoon.  

Then they hightailed (OT..but I wonder what that phrase really means?)  it home and Jon worked all night trying to get our soybeans in before the next storm hit.  IF he hadn't run out of seed, he would have gotten done.     Jim was able to finish up the field of corn he had gotten rained out of previously.  What he had planted is already sticking it nose out of the ground.    He said the field was in a lot worse condition that it had been when he started the field.  Now we are supposed to get rain again every day this week.   What a year!!

However, in light of the pictures coming out of Missouri, and many other areas,  we are glad that all we are getting is rain.    There sure have been a lot of major weather related problems world wide this year, between tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanos and flooding.   

Almost makes a person wonder about that whole rapture story.  Almost.   Since I am still here, and if you are reading this, you are too, I guess we didn't qualify?    I was trying to reach Jim on Sat. night and he was out of cell phone reach...I left a message.."are you just out of reach, or did you rapture up?".  Not to worry...I see that "expert" searched his addition and it seems he had a slight miscalculation and it is now Oct. 21st.  

Posted by suzyorr at 10:09 AM EDT
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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Yesterday I had it brought home to me again what a really dangerous occupation farming can be.

First...Rick Fesko from New York was found dead in the manure tank.  Rick's wife, Chris, makes those wonderful videos about farming.   He was 59 years old and was an outstanding person with a big, loving family. 

Then we learned that a local man, Dr. Kyle Lang, 32 years old..was found dead after an accident involving a brush hog.  He was a local GP doctor whose passion was his weekend farming.    Whenever we were around him, Kyle would pick Jim's brain about farming.    He leaves behind 4 small children.   

So...again I say to all of you  BE VERY VERY CAREFUL OUT THERE!!     

Posted by suzyorr at 10:33 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 22 May 2011 10:45 AM EDT
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Since the last post, they made it home safely and have been spending these rainy days working on various projects since we have had almost daily rain. They weren't doing anything that I felt worthy of my fighting with this blogging program to post.

The end of the week,  they were finally able to go down to a farm around Sugar Creek Ohio to mow some ryelage and haylage,  They had two Big M 2's and one Big M 400 working to try to get as much product mowed as they could in the small window of time that the weather allowed.    Jim sent this picture of the 3 M's working after dark.

Pictures can't adequately show how steep the hills are down in "Little Switzerland".     It was also very wet, but when you look at the forecast for the week ahead, this is likely the best shot they had.   We used our carts to load in the field and then took them to the trucks waiting on the road.



George sent this picture from the field yesterday.  He also posted some great videos on his Facebook page, but I can't figure out how to steal them to post on here.



Three generations were working together yesterday as Megan (Jon and Missy's oldest) made her inaugural voyage into the world of truck driving. She has been practicing here at home and was deemed to be ready, willing, and able.   Let me tell you...this did quite a number on this Nana's heart



Update on a former post:   I recently posted about my inadequate machinery skills.    George thought I would enjoy this picture that he took on Friday of Jim mowing lawn and getting stuck.  Thanks George!!

Posted by suzyorr at 9:43 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 22 May 2011 11:18 AM EDT
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Monday, 2 May 2011

How many of you remember that song?   I hate it when I use song titles as the blog title, cause then it is stuck in my mind for a long time.

I heard from Jim a couple of times today.  They went through Atlanta at 8:30 AM...so once again braved the rush hour traffic.    They made it through without incident though.

They did have one flat tire today, but got it changed and caught up with the others quickly.   

Tonight they are staying in that motel that I had found them on the way down..the one with the huge parking area and a Waffle House in the parking lot.  

If all goes well, it's about a 4 1/2 hour drive home from where they are, so they will be home by early afternoon.  

No grands will be here to greet them though, as they will all be in school.

No pictures tonight...guess they were all too busy to send me any.

Posted by suzyorr at 9:46 PM EDT
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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Jim called about 9 and said they had everything loaded up and ready to head out tomorrow morning.   I hope they have a safe trip back to Ohio.

True confession time:

People often ask me if I travel with the crew, driving truck or machinery.   The answer to that is "NO".   It's actually a lot more emphatic than that...more like "absolutely no way in hell would we let her do that".  

I will confess...I am extremely machinery challenged.  I did not grow up on a farm.  I never even mowed lawn before we married.   In Illinois, we lived in a house with about 10 feet between us and one neighbor, and shared a driveway with the other one.   After we moved to Ohio in 1959, my brothers did all the mowing.

So, machinery does not come naturally to me.   However, it is much deeper than that.   My kindergarten teacher wrote on my grade card..."Suzy lacks spacial skills"   That was her nice way of saying that I can not, quickly, ascertain "right" or "left".   If you give me a second or two, I figure it out, but not instantly.  Such a skill is crucial to operating machinery.

When I first met my farmer boy, he thought he could teach me.  Oh, the stories he can tell you! 

So, for the safety of everyone, I am better off behind the computer keyboard.  

I offer you exhibit A:  

Jason mows the farm and when he has time mows my lawn.  Yesterday, however, he had just made one round around my yard when he had to leave.    I decided to finish it myself.    The result:










In my defense (It always makes sense to me at the time) the water wasn't there last night....it was just soft ground..and overnight it rained.   I have mowed this patch of ground for years..but I didn't remember that they dug it up earlier in the spring to bury some wires.   

Bless my son in law Peter, who came this morning and pulled it out and made sure nothing was broken.

Now, can you see why they don't trust me with any of the machines?     We all have our talents in life..and operating machinery is not one of mine.  

Posted by suzyorr at 9:33 PM EDT
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Saturday, 30 April 2011

Jim called about 8 and said he had chopped the last load.  In spite of weather problems, they were able to get the hay into the bunkers without rain.  

Hopefully they can get all loaded up and will be able to head for home on Monday morning.   

George sent this picture of a katydid..he says "they are everywhere".   Jim says they do not bite.     Speaking of biting insects, working on machinery today, Jon laid down in a fire ant hill.   OUCH!   











This picture has nothing to do with harvesting or the farm, but since I pay the monthly fee for this blog, I think I can post what I want on it.

Our granddaughter, Ali, recently won a county wide contest "Celebrating our Diversity" with this poster.  They had it printed up into a big heavy banner that they will take around to local grocery stores and events.  It was on display at the local "Home and Garden Show" today.   We are proud of you Ali!


Posted by suzyorr at 10:29 PM EDT
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Friday, 29 April 2011

Jim called about 9 and said they were back in their rooms after finishing up the Williams farm today.  Jon O was out mowing the next farm, so hopefully they can chop it tomorrow.

Jim sent some pictures today of them mixing the inoculant that goes into the Echosyler tank on the chopper (he captioned it "mixing bugs" and I had no idea what he was talking about!)

This inoculant is in powder form and is mixed with water and poured into the tank.  This then sprays it onto the silage as it is chopped.   It can be dialed to whatever strength the farmer wishes.    I had never mentioned this before, so he thought you might like to see some pictures.

Posted by suzyorr at 9:20 PM EDT
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Earlier in the week, a pretty young woman came to my door and said she was Jon B's sister and that his birthday was coming up on Friday. Her mother had asked her to stop by and give me some money to have them buy him a birthday cake from her to celebrate the day.    

I said I would post pictures of the event.

Here is the cake...and a picture of him talking on the phone (do you think he is talking to Willard Scott?) He's actually talking to his Mom so she can sing Happy Birthday to him too.  The last is picture of the birthday card we got him...so sentimental!  I see they all signed it to him too.

Happy Birthday, Jon B!  















Posted by suzyorr at 11:38 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 29 April 2011 9:58 PM EDT
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Thursday, 28 April 2011

At 1:27 last night a tornado went through the Madison GA area about 1/4-1/2 mile north of the hotel where the crew is staying.   I guess someone ran down the hallway, knocking on doors and yelling for people to go downstairs to safer location.   Some of our guys went down.   Jim missed it all.  Once he took his hearing aids out, he was oblivious to what was going on outside his room.   

Tom suffered an injury when he went back into his room...the electric was off, so he couldn't see and tripped and fell.   Here is his tornado injury.  Ouch!

Dave Clark was very happy that his farm was chopped and the bunker was covered, as the storm brought 3 inches of rain to his farm.   Where they have moved to, they "only" had 1 1/2 inches, so they could start mowing around noon.   

Late afternoon, Jon was working on the rake and was chiseling something and a piece of metal chipped off and went into his bicep.  Missy had to take him to the ER as it was bleeding pretty good.    The ER doc made the decision to not try to remove the metal..it was lodged too deep and would be fairly difficult to remove.   He bandaged him up and sent him away with instructions to consult a doctor when he got back home.    George sent this picture "back at it already"...as you can see, he still has his lovely hospital bracelet on. I am thinking that bandage will not be that white for very long. 

UPDATE: after he read the blog, Jon sent me these corrections to my post:

Actually the hospital just took xrays and gave me some antibiotics a tetnus shot two scripts and did not even touch my arm other than to position it for the xrays. Also I was working on the tedder. George sent the picture to show that I was using the air chisel again. They were scared to use it after my mishap. Tell Becca I had my safety glasses on. Lol.  

(Becca is Jon's sister who is an Optometrist and has had to dig metal out of his eyes before). 


Posted by suzyorr at 10:07 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 29 April 2011 7:39 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Despite some predictions, they didn't get rain today so they were able to finish up at Dave Clark's.

Thank you, Dave, for allowing us to work for you another year.   It is fun coming back every year and seeing the improvements you make to your great operation.   

They were able to move the equipment down the road to the next job.  Nice when it's close enough to drive it and not have to load it all up on the trailers.  They were back in their room by 8:00, so should get a good night's sleep. 

Tom took this picture of Jim chopping into Sheldon's truck at the end of a round.   He entitled it "Bass ackward"  I think you can see why,  This was actually a video, but I was not able to download it from Facebook.  









 I just became a "friend" of Tom on Facebook today and WOW, does he ever have a lot of really good pictures of the season so far.     Tom..I am very impressed.   

Jon sent this picture "Last load at Dave Clark's"














He also sent this picture to show what happens once we are done and the bunker is packed down.  This surely brings back memories of covering the bunkers here at home when we chopped for our cows.  Anyone unlucky enough to stop by that day got shanghaied in to help!   It;s kind of like when the cows got out in that respect.   (Did I ever mention that I DO NOT miss those days!!??)



Posted by suzyorr at 9:39 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 April 2011 9:43 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Boy, watching the Weather Channel, many parts of the country are really having wicked weather.  But, so far, it has missed the part of Georgia where they are working.  They were even able to get an earlier start today and things went well.    They worked at the "big barn farm" today.    If you have read the blog other years, you have seen pictures of this place before.   If you are new to our blogs, I will share this picture that Jon sent "Big barn farm finished".   As you can see, these barns are huge and are well maintained and beautiful.  I think the owner lives in one of them.  At one time, they housed dairy cattle, theyI don't think have any livestock in them.   












A little later Jon sent this picture "road hog" taken as he followed Jim and the chopper down the road from one farm to another.

Posted by suzyorr at 10:11 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 April 2011 9:46 PM EDT
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Monday, 25 April 2011

Fortunately, they missed the rains in Godfrey GA and were able to start chopping around 11.  They were able to get 110 Acres in the bunkers today and have about 160 to go yet.   

Jim sent me several pictures but they were not very clear.   Turned out his lens was dusty.   

I like this one of the pushing tractors on the bunker..the dusty lens gives it a neat starburst effect.  

Posted by suzyorr at 10:25 PM EDT
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Sunday, 24 April 2011

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter day!

With the crew gone, our Easter is a lot smaller.   We will get together at Jennifer's but there will be like 300 filled eggs for 2 kids.   I think they will reach their lifetime sugar quota in one day.

Jim sent me these pictures...it seems the Easter bunny found them all in Georgia and they found goodies hiding in their vehicles when they got to the farm this morning.   














He said that he had to eat it quick as it is so warm the chocolate will melt.  I might have to go beat him up for telling me that..since it is 52 and raining here!


















I am glad the weather is good and hope they are able to get a good day of chopping.    

I tried to embed this youtube video onto the blog but it would not work.   So, do yourself a favor and click on the link.   I guarantee it will warm your soul.




Posted by suzyorr at 10:15 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 April 2011 11:16 AM EDT
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Friday, 22 April 2011

It was another wet day today.   They weren't able to chop anything.   Instead some of them went to do laundry.   

Out at the farm, the fuel truck came and filled everything up.  It is nice when our customers have a good relationship with a fuel company who agrees to do this for us!













Rob, from Krone, was there today, fine tuning and tweaking some things on the chopper.  

Since they weren't chopping they went to Cracker Barrel for lunch.   Jon ordered his hamburger "raw"...the best they could do was "medium rare"...but it came "well done"    They brought him another one, and allowed George to eat the wrong one, as well as his own.  Oh, to be young again!















I am happy to report that we heard from Justin and he made it there in time to see his mother before she went into surgery and the doctor gave them a good report afterwards.    I am sure that took a big worry off of his heart.    

Let's hope the sun shines bright in Georgia tomorrow so they can get back into the fields.

(darn it...after I typed that title to this page, that song is stuck in my head.  I hate it when that happens.  LOL).

Posted by suzyorr at 9:07 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 April 2011 9:19 PM EDT
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Thursday, 21 April 2011

They got everything that was fit harvested and were able to leave the field around 6 this evening.   They have around 90 acres down, so hopefully it dries down quickly tomorrow. 

Several of the crew seem to be coming down with the flu, so they chose to not go out to eat at KFC tonight.  Hopefully they are feeling better tomorrow.

Justin, from the eastern part of Washington, had to make an emergency trip back home, as his mother is having surgery tomorrow.  Jon called yesterday and asked if I could find airline tickets for him asap.  Well..as you know, this is Easter weekend, and this was short notice.   The first few sites I looked at, the cheapest tickets were $1300-1500!    I was able to finally find him some tickets on a red-eye flight this evening...the bad thing is that it will take him 15 1/2 hours to get there.   He also wanted to fly back on Tuesday..but, again, due to the holiday, those tickets were exhorbitant.  The day of cheap airline tickets is a thing of the past.    

We hope his mother gets along well..we send her all of our good thoughts for a full recovery!  Hope it helps having your son there! 

Before they went out to eat tonight, Jim changed to this new tee shirt, which Lowe and Young had made up and sent to them. Thanks Kyle!

Posted by suzyorr at 9:27 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 April 2011 9:32 PM EDT
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