09:23 – Barbara leaves shortly to spend a week at a crafts workshop with her friend Bonnie. Colin and I will be on our own, so it’ll be wild women and parties. We’ll get all the evidence cleaned up before Barbara returns Friday afternoon or evening.

I’ll be doing science kit stuff while she’s gone. I’m also building and filling in an inventory spreadsheet for our long-term food storage so that I can get a better idea of what we have and what gaps need to be filled.

I already had inventory records, of course, but those were just counts. It’s useful to know that we have 88 16.5-ounce cans of Bush’s Best Baked Beans in the long-term pantry, for example, but that says nothing about nutritional value–calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. My new spreadsheet includes the count of each specific container, the nutritional values per container, and the total nutrition for that item.

When I finish it, I’ll make copies of that spreadsheet available for download. Not really as a shopping list, because your own long-term storage should be personalized. For example, unlike a lot of preppers we store zero wheat, because we don’t use it other than in the form of finished baked goods, and I have no desire to sit there turning a crank to convert it into flour. Instead, we store a lot of flour, rice, and pasta, all of which can be used directly to make meals. But the spreadsheet may still be useful to a lot of people because it already contains nutritional values per container for a lot of items that you may choose to store, and you can easily add those values for items that aren’t in the spreadsheet.


11:52 – Barbara is on her way to Brasstown, NC, which is more than 250 miles from our home and more than four hours by car, assuming no traffic. She’s traveling very light, just her purse, one small duffel bag, and a tote bag. The only emergency gear she has with her is what’s in her purse.

I tried to get her to take along a Sawyer Mini water purifier, but she said she didn’t have room for it. I’m very uncomfortable having her travel without at least basic emergency gear. All she has in her purse is a Swiss Army Knife, multi-tool, and flashlight, assuming she left those in her purse. It’s not that I expect anything bad to happen. I don’t. There’s probably a 99.999% chance that everything will be routine. But I just don’t feel comfortable with her not having at least basic emergency gear when she’s far from home. Bonnie is driving. Knowing her, she may have some stuff in her vehicle.

While she’s gone, I’m going to put together a minimalist kit in a small duffel and hope that she’ll take it along next time. So I need to sit down and figure out what is essential and what she can do without.