Sunday, 24 September 2017

09:36 – It was 66.3F (13.5C) and partly cloudy when I took Colin out at 0700. Barbara is due back from Winston around lunchtime, so I need to spend some time de-wrecking the house.


Chris and Tamara Moser stopped over yesterday afternoon. They’re two of the four extra-class hams in the county, and also two of the four county residents who are qualified as Volunteer Examiners that can administer ham license tests.

Chris sent out email yesterday morning asking if anyone had a current copy of the ARRL exam book that they’d be willing to lend to one of the students in the Tech Exam class that commences early next month. I told him he was welcome to borrow mine.

We stood around talking when they got here, and they mentioned that there was a problem with holding the exam. There have to be three VE’s present at any exam, and Chris and Tamara are related to two of the people who’ll be taking the exam. That disqualifies them from being VE’s for that particular exam session.

I told them that the only reason I’d even tried taking the Extra exam when I passed my Tech and General licence exams was so that the county would have one more person qualified to be a VE.

They pointed out that I could still become a VE, but with only a General license that meant I’d only qualify to supervise exams for would-be Tech licensees. Of course, that’s exactly what the upcoming exam is for, so I’m going to go ahead and apply for VE credentials. I’ll probably pick up my Extra-class license at some point, which would qualify me to be a VE for all three license classes.


Email from Cassie yesterday, with the subject line “NEVER AGAIN”. Back in February, with the help of a friend who’s an experienced canner, Cassie had pressure canned 40 pints of chicken that she’d bought on sale. Cassie hadn’t stocked up on canning jars yet, so they used 40 pint jars and Tattler reusable lids supplied by her friend.

For dinner Friday, Cassie pulled a pint jar of canned chicken off her deep pantry shelf. They’d left the bands on the jars when they finished pressure-canning them. When Cassie unscrewed the band, the lid was loose as well. She didn’t have to pry it up, it just separated freely from the jar. Either that jar had never sealed, or it had lost its seal sometime during the seven months or so it had been sitting on the pantry shelf. The meat didn’t stink, but Cassie rightly treated that jar as a rattlesnake.

Obviously, that brought dinner to a crashing halt. Cassie said she almost literally vomited when she realized that they’d eaten several jars of that chicken over the preceding months, and that any one of those jars could have killed them. They ordered take-out for dinner, and while they waited for it to arrive Cassie pulled all the remaining jars of chicken off the shelf and removed the rings. Of the two dozen or so jars remaining, one had completely lost its seal, and she considered two or three more questionable. They decided to pitch all of the remaining jars of chicken, which was the right decision.

She immediately called her friend that had helped her can those jars to give her a heads-up. The friend was mortified, of course. She’d been canning meat with Tattler lids for a decade or more, and this was the first time there’d been any problem.

Cassie pulled the other hundred or so jars of meat she’d canned. Ground beef, beef chunks, pork, and sausage. She’d done those with the single-use metal lids supplied originally with the Ball jars, and every single one of them still had a good seal. Cassie concluded, and I agree, that the problem was the Tattler lids.

She did some additional research and came across this web page, which was originally posted five years ago and has been updated since. Study this page and the links before you even think about using Tattler lids.

Tattler lids are not USDA-approved for pressure canning. The Tattler website weasels around that lack of approval by stating that they use USDA-approved food-grade plastics in their lids, which is not the same as the lids themselves being approved. And the National Center for Home Food Preservation at UGA, which is the authoritative sources on all things related to pressure-canning, specifically recommends against using “reusable” canning lids.

The obvious temptation, particularly for preppers, is to buy a supply of Tattler lids as a long-term reusable solution in a grid-down scenario. The Tattler lids cost four or five times as much as a standard single-use Ball or Kerr metal lid, but can supposedly be reused over and over. I’d actually considered buying a supply of them for just that reason. But my conclusion after reading those pages is that not only can the Tattler lids not be trusted for re-use, they can’t even be trusted for single use. I intend to order a supply of name-brand, US-made Ball and/or Kerr metal single-use lids for just that reason. In bulk, you can find them for 18 or 20 cents each, which is a small price to pay for a reliable and safe seal.

I told Cassie that although I think she should discard all of the remaining canned chicken and the Tattler lids, she needn’t discard the jars themselves or the bands. Just stick them in the dishwasher on its longest cycle with sanitize turned on, and they should be fine. And, oh by the way, you’re not supposed to leave the bands on the jars after they seal. If nothing else, leaving the bands screwed down can give the impression that a jar has a good seal when it fact it’s a false seal. Cassie experienced that with a couple of the Tattler lids. It’s unlikely to happen with the metal lids, but it’s not worth taking the chance.

Cassie had originally bought half a gross of the Tattler lids from Amazon, at roughly a buck apiece. She gave 40 of those to her friend to replace the ones her friend had provided for their first canning session, so she had 32 unused Tattler lids. She’s been using the metal lids provided with the jars ever since, so the rest of what she’s canned is okay. She’s well beyond the Amazon return window, so she’s going to trash the unused lids and eat the cost. She’s pissed, and I don’t blame her. She’s not pissed at her friend or herself or Amazon. She’s pissed at Tattler. Rightly so, in my opinion.

I was actually kind of surprised that this experience didn’t turn her off completely to canning, but it hasn’t. She’s convinced that canning is safe, assuming she uses the right materials and procedures, and that it’s a cost-effective way to store food. In fact, the next time there’s a big sale on chicken, she plans to buy a bunch and can it up.

I almost didn’t mention this, but I decided it was worth noting. Jaime at Guildbrook Farms also pressure cans bulk meats, and she re-uses the METAL lids. According to all the authorities, that’s an unsafe practice, but I told Cassie if she wants to do that I’d suggest opening a sealed jar very, very carefully to avoid damaging the lid and then wash and sterilize that used lid and stick it on the shelf. In an SHTF situation, she could re-use those lids once she couldn’t get new ones, but in the interim I suggested she use new lids every time.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

07:18 – It was 61.7F (16.5C) when I took Colin out at 0625, mostly cloudy and calm.

We got a lot done on science kits yesterday. We’ll get more bottles filled this morning. Barbara is volunteering at the Friends bookstore this afternoon. I’ll get more solutions made up and bottle labels printed while she’s gone.

As usual this time of year, we’re in limiting-quantities mode. For example, Sunday we made up 18 chemical bags for the CK01B chemistry kits because of the chemicals we needed we had only 18 of one in stock. Yesterday we built those 18 CK01B kits and stacked them in the finished goods inventory closet.

After updating the chemical bottles inventory, we looked at the next mini-project. We’re down to about a dozen of the BK01 biology kits, and the limiting quantity on those is 11. So we’ll make up 11 more biology chemical bags and get those 11 kits built. Meanwhile, building the 18 CK01B kits took us down to zero potassium permanganate bottles in stock. Those are required for both the CK01A and CK01B kits, so I made up more potassium permanganate solution. We’ll next label and fill 120 30-mL bottles of that. That makes the limiting quantity for CK01A and CK01B kits the 8 bottles of phenolphthalein we have in stock, so we’ll get more of that made up and 120 bottles labeled and filled. And so on. Rinse and repeat.


Email yesterday from Cassie, whom I hadn’t heard from for three months or so. She and her husband have reached steady-state on prepping. They have more than a year’s worth of LTS food for themselves, including a lot of home-canned meats. Cassie isn’t local, and her husband’s parents retired to Florida, so they don’t have any close relatives living locally. Most of their friends and neighbors are fairly well prepared just by virtue of living in a rural area, but they are accumulating extra LTS bulk foods so they can help friends/neighbors out if it comes to that.

They’re content with their preps in non-food areas. They talked about electric power and decided they didn’t need to do much in that respect. They have a generator that originally belonged to her husband’s parents, and have four 6-gallon gas cans filled with treated gasoline. which they periodically transfer into their vehicles’ tanks and refill with fresh gasoline. They figure that’ll cover them for normal short-term emergencies.

They did buy a 100W Renogy solar kit on Amazon along with a bunch of Eneloop NiMH rechargeables and 12V chargers, an AC trickle charger, and a pair of small deep-cycle batteries locally. They keep the batteries trickle-charged on house current, but can switch over to the solar panel if mains power goes down.

They’ve tested that and found that it works to keep them in AA and AAA cells for their LED flashlights/lanterns, radios, and so on. They have spring water and are willing, at least for now, to do without stuff like refrigeration that would require a larger solar installation, more batteries, and an AC inverter.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

09:07 – Chillier weather has moved in. It was 49.1F (9.5C) when I took Colin out at 0645 this morning, sunny and with strong winds. We had another 0.8″ (2 cm) of rain in the last 24 hours.

Email yesterday from Cassie, whom I hadn’t heard from in a couple of months. She was just checking in and letting me know that she and her husband are now up to over a year’s worth of food, and feeling pretty comfortable about the level of their preps. They’ve laid in bulk quantities of flour, rice, pasta, cooking oil, and so on and have the dry stuff repacked in one-gallon foil-Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

Cassie has also jumped big-time into canning meats. She does Marathon canning sessions a couple weekends a month, and is up to about 150 pounds of ground beef, chicken, pork, and sausage canned in pint jars. She waits until a particular meat is on sale, buys a bunch of it, typically 30 or 40 pounds at a time, and then cans it.

She also mentioned that she and her husband are now cooking and baking a lot more than they used to. Rather than eating a lot of fresh and frozen foods, they now make most of their meals from LTS. She’s been surprised at how little extra time that takes, especially since they often make up large batches and end up with several meals in the freezer.

Cassie offered an interesting observation that a lot of people probably don’t take into account in their LTS planning. She thought they had lots and lots of spices. Big Costco/Sam’s-size jars of onion flakes and garlic powder, for instance. But as she and her husband were making dinner one night she was measuring out a tablespoon of garlic powder and thought to look at the serving size on that big jar. She said a light bulb went on over her head as she realized that she was used to thinking of herb/spice quantities based on the way they used to cook. Back then one of those small jars of something would last them forever because they so seldom cooked from scratch. With the way they’re cooking now, even a large jar of something isn’t going to last them very long at all. So she sat down at her computer, logged onto Walmart.com, and ordered a bunch of different herbs and spices in large jars to add to their stocks.

She was a bit concerned about shelf-life. A lot of packaged herbs and spices have stated best-by dates 6 months out or less. I told her not to worry about it at all. Best-by dates on herbs and spices are as imaginary as those on canned foods. Most spices are packaged in PET (or glass) bottles, where they’ll remain good for many years, if not decades. They won’t even lose any potency to speak off. Those bottles provide an airtight seal, so the odors/flavors aren’t going anywhere. The same is true if Cassie buys bulk spices like turmeric or paprika or whatever and repackages them herself. Bulk spices usually come in plastic bags, which are not a long-term storage solution. But transferred to PET soft drink bottles or foil-laminate Mylar bags, they’ll last forever.

 

 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

08:36 – It was 25F (-4C) when I took Colin out this morning, but a stiff breeze made it feel a lot colder. Barbara is due back from Winston sometime this afternoon. Colin and I never did manage to find any wild women, so we mostly read, played ball, and watched videos. Colin did get a chance to do some small-rodent pouncing in Bonnie’s back field when I took him out this morning.

Here’s the view from our back deck.

Well, actually, it’s the title card from the BBC series Cranford, but it’s the same view except that our cows are Black Angus and there are a lot more of them. Same rolling hills with cattle grazing, same trees, same mountains disappearing into the mist in the background. Have I mentioned that I really like where we live?

* * * * *

Email from Cassie, who has another canning session scheduled for this weekend. This time, she and her friend are doing it at Cassie’s house, using Cassie’s new Presto 23-quart canner and a second canner that her friend is bringing along. Cassie is supplying the canning jars for this round.

They’re not doing ground beef this time, because it wasn’t on sale yet. But the pork roast and sausage was on sale, so Cassie’s buying a bunch of it. She’s going to use her slow cooker overnight to make pulled pork using this recipe and then can it in her favorite homemade barbecue sauce (for which she didn’t cough up the recipe).

She really, really wants to do bacon, but like me she’s very concerned that the USDA recommends against it because they haven’t done the necessary testing to develop an authoritative, guaranteed-safe procedure for doing so. But, as Cassie says, they do have such a procedure for sausage, and she and her husband both like it, too.

* * * * *

 I’m still waiting for Trump and his Republican congress to do something about our ridiculous gun control laws. I signed an on-line White House petition the other day that calls for the repeal of the National Firearms Act, which would be a good start. Next, they can repeal GCA68, and we’d all be able to order guns on-line. But the really major thing they need to do is start issuing federal permits that allow concealed and open carry anywhere in the US for any adult citizen. As a first approximation, they should declare that any citizen who has a valid state-issued driver’s license is now authorized to carry open or concealed using only that license as proof of authorization. Those citizens who do not have driver’s licenses should be able to visit any US Post Office, present proof of identity and citizenship, and be issued a carry permit on the spot.

Monday, 13 February 2017

08:13 – It was 30F (-1C) when I took Colin out this morning, with high winds gusting to 60 MPH (96 KPH). As far as I’m concerned, that put the actual wind chill at -30F (-34C). I’ve started leaving a set of lab goggles on the foyer table for just such days. At that temperature and wind speed, I can’t keep my eyes open unless I’m wearing eye protection.

Email over the weekend from Cassie, a relative newbie prepper. When I last heard from her, a month ago, her self-employed husband had just hurt his hand and had to take time off work. Fortunately, he’s fully recovered now and back at work.

Cassie works as a checker at a small local supermarket, where she’s been buying dry staples in quantity regularly. Some of her co-workers noticed and commented on that, and Cassie has become friends with one of them. Because she lacks freezer space and has nowhere to put a standalone freezer, Cassie was considering getting into home pressure canning. She mentioned that to her new friend, who invited her over one day the weekend before last to show her the ropes on home canning.

The supermarket where they both work had a big sale on chicken, so Cassie bought 40 pounds on sale and hauled it over to her new friend’s house, where they pressure-canned it in pint Ball jars. Forty of them, at one pound per jar. Her friend supplied both the canner and the jars, which Cassie will replace with new jars she ordered from Walmart.

Her friend has been canning since she was a little girl and helped her mother and grandmother can. She has two pressure canners, a Presto she bought soon after she got married, and a big All American that her grandmother gave her when she was no longer physically able to can her own stuff. Cassie asked her if the higher price of the All American canner was worth paying. Her friend said she’d been using both for years and that although there were some things she really liked about the All American canner that the cheaper Presto could do everything the more expensive canner could do.

So Cassie ordered the same Presto 23-quart canner we have, along with a gross of pint Ball jars from Walmart. Forty of those go to her friend, which leaves Cassie with 104 canning jars. Her next project is to can a bunch of ground beef, so she’s just waiting for it to go on sale. Her new canner can process 20 pint jars at a time, so she plans to do two or three runs with ground beef to get 40 to 60 jars processed.

For now, Cassie will use the single-use lids that come with the jars, but she owes her friend the 40 Tattler reusable lids they used for her first canning session. Her friend swears by the Tattler lids, which she’s been using for 10 years, so Cassie plans to order a gross of them as well.

She considered buying half-pint jars for her own use, because a pint jar holds about a pound of meat, which is twice what they need for a single meal. But when she saw that half-pint jars sell for only about a buck less per dozen than pint jars, she decided that she didn’t want to spend nearly twice as much on jars to hold the same amount of meat, so she ordered all pint jars except for two dozen quart jars, which she just wanted to have on hand.

* * * * *

Sunday, 15 January 2017

09:34 – It’s back to spring-like weather. It was 52F (11C) when I got up this morning, gray and damp but not raining.

We’re building science kits today and tomorrow. We’re in decent shape on biology kits, but down to one on forensic kits and -2 on chemistry kits. Bulk orders Thursday wiped out our stock on both of those. Oh, well. USPS doesn’t run Monday, and we’ll have plenty of time to get kits built to fill outstanding orders. Yesterday, we finished making up chemicals for a custom order from a state distance learning program, so we’ll get that boxed up today and ready to ship Tuesday.

Email overnight from Cassie, another new prepper. She had told me earlier that she and her husband are mid- to late-20’s. She works as a supermarket checker, and her husband has his own plumbing business. Friday, he cut his dominant hand badly while working on a job. The ER doc glued and stitched it back together again, and said he’ll recover fully, but for the next week or two he’ll be very limited in what he can do. He can still supervise work and approve it, but otherwise he’ll have to depend entirely on his assistant to do the actual wrench-turning. He’ll still be able to get work done, but everything will take longer. That means their income will take a significant hit over the next couple of weeks, and he may have to farm out some jobs to the other local plumber. They won’t be hurting financially, because between her pay check, his (smaller) pay check, and what they have saved, they can meet routine expenses without any problem. But, as Cassie says, it’s a comfort to know that they can eat from their stored food, cutting their grocery bill down to nothing. She cooked dinner last night from their deep pantry, and intends to keep doing so until her husband is fully recovered. As she said, this is a good excuse to get more experience cooking from LTS, and it just goes to prove that their preps aren’t just for an end-of-the-world scenario.


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

10:00 – Barbara is off to the gym and library. She was planning to take Bonnie into town to run some errands today, but Bonnie canceled. That was probably a good thing, since it’s currently raining, breezy, and just over freezing outside. When she gets back from the gym, she’s packing up to head down to Winston first thing tomorrow morning. She’ll stay with Frances and Al tomorrow night and head back to Sparta on Thursday. It’ll be wild women and parties for Colin and me.

The rest of my latest Walmart order arrived yesterday. A case of six #10 cans of Augason Farms Potato Shreds. It’s SOP around here. We just finished one can, so I ordered another case. Unusually for food that’s packaged for LTS, these potato shreds are actually cheaper than the Ore-Ida frozen hashbrowns that Barbara used to buy. A 23-ounce can costs $7.12, but by the time they’re rehydrated that 23 ounces turns into about four or five times that mass of the equivalent of fresh potatoes, or the equivalent of about three $3.00 32-ounce bags of the Ore-Idas.

Email overnight from Cassie. Although she voted for Trump, she’s concerned that Trump’s election increases the likelihood of severe problems in the short run, but she voted for Trump because she thinks that another four years or more of the progs running things would inevitably bring on complete collapse. Smart girl.

She and her husband have been busy, prepping on a budget. Their primary concern is food. She works as a checker at the local supermarket and has been buying significant amounts of bulk staples two or three times a week. The first couple of times no one thought that was strange, but as she says all of her coworkers now know that she’s a prepper. A couple of them have commented on it to her, and said they thought it was a good idea. Now one of them has started doing the same thing she’s doing. Between that and stuff they’re ordering from Walmart, Amazon, and Costco on-line, they’re now in pretty good shape. Cassie figures they’re up to at least a six-month supply for the two of them and plans to keep at it until they’re up to at least a one-year supply. The only thing she’s dreading is all the repackaging they have to do, which they haven’t gotten started on yet.


Friday, 18 November 2016

08:08 – Barbara just left to drive over to West Jefferson, where she’ll spend the day with Frances, Al, and their friend Marcy. It’ll be wild women and parties for Colin and me today.

Barbara and I drove over to Blue Ridge Co-op around lunchtime yesterday and signed up to have a propane tank installed. Lowes is supposed to deliver our gas cooktop on, bizarrely enough, Thanksgiving Day, so we told Blue Ridge Co-op to schedule installation of the propane tank for the first week of December.

We opted for a 250-gallon tank rather than the 120-gallon tank. The 250-gallon is the largest they’re allowed to install above-ground, and we didn’t want to get involved with the cost and hassles of a buried tank. The 250-gallon tank holds about 230 gallons when full. That should last three or four years if we use it only for cooking, even if we’re cooking for more than just the two of us. They’ll also install a quick-disconnect fitting at the back door, which we can hook up to our generator if necessary. Propane costs about three times as much as electricity per BTU, but that’s not a major concern if we’re using the propane only for cooking or in an emergency for electric power.

The gas cooktop we ordered comes standard with a propane adapter kit. It has an electric igniter, but specifically says in the specs that it can be ignited manually if the power is down.

Email from Cassie, who’s been reading what I posted recently about canning. She’s never pressure-canned anything, but they have only the small freezer in their refrigerator and she’d like to can meats that she buys on sale, particularly dark-meat chicken and bacon, as well as game that her husband brings home from hunting. But the thought of botulism scares her to death, and rightly so. She has no canning equipment or supplies, and asked me what I thought about it.

I told her that I’m no expert on pressure canning. The few times I did it I was helping someone else who was an experienced canner, and the last time I even watched was 40 years ago. That said, I told her that credible authorities, including the USDA and Ball, say that canning meats is safe if one follows directions exactly, but that just to be extra safe one should always cook canned meats thoroughly before eating them.

I suggested that she carefully consider the costs of commercially-canned meats versus DIY pressure-canned meats. She’ll need a canner. All American canners are the top of the line, but they cost $225 to $300+ depending on capacity. The 23-quart Presto canner I bought costs under $80, and does the job just as well as the more expensive canner. I suggested she also pick up a set of canning tools and a copy of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

She’ll also need canning jars, lids, and bands. I suggested Walmart as a good source for those. She needs to decide between quart jars, which hold about two pounds of meat, versus pint jars, which hold about one pound. The trade-off is that the jars cost about the same for either size, but that with just the two of them she may not want to have her meat stored two pounds per jar with no easy way to preserve it after opening a jar other perhaps than maintaining a constantly-simmering pot of pottage. If she does opt for pint jars, I recommended that she buy a second canning rack so that she can process twice as many jars per run. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to buy spares for the gasket, pressure gauge, and pressure valve.


Thursday, 17 November 2016

10:02 – I know it’s trivial, but I love to watch what oxygen absorbers do to containers. Yesterday afternoon, I added an oxygen absorber to each of the 21 bottles of pinto beans we’d repackaged in 2-liter soda bottles. A couple of hours later, I looked at the bottles, all of which were by then dented in, indicating both a good seal and that the oxygen absorbers were doing their jobs.

Incidentally, if you need oxygen absorbers, buy them from the LDS store. A pack of a hundred 300cc absorbers costs only $12, versus typically twice that or more from commercial resellers. In the original package, they remain good for years. If you have any left over from a pack, store them in the smallest glass jar you can find that has a metal lid. Wide-mouth canning jars work well. If you’re ever in doubt about whether oxygen absorbers are still good, just bend one between your fingers. A good one is soft and flexible; one that’s exhausted hardens and loses flexibility.

More email from Cassie, the newbie prepper I mentioned a couple days ago. They’re rural enough that their nearest Walmart Super Center is an hour’s drive one-way, and the nearest Sam’s or Costco is farther still. So she plans to stock up from Amazon and Walmart on-line for stuff she can’t get at her local supermarket, where she works as a checker. They live in her husband’s parents’ house and her husband has his own plumbing business, so their combined income is solidly middle-class and they have much lower expenses than a typical young married couple.

They’re focusing on food first. They’re on well water, but they have a year-round spring on their property, so Cassie figures they’re in good shape for water. Her husband hunts, and they have a couple of rifles and a couple of shotguns, which they figure is enough for now. They’ll add some more ammunition, first-aid supplies, and so on, but otherwise the concentration will be on food, food, food. Yesterday, Cassie came home from work with two five-pound bags of sugar, two ten-pound bags of flour, several one-pound bags of pasta, a jug of cooking oil, two boxes of iodized salt, several jars of pasta sauce, and two cases of soup. She intends to do the same thing two or three times a week until they’re stocked at a level they’re comfortable with.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

09:15 – The progressive attacks on Trump continue and accelerate on all fronts, as expected. Their problem is that Trump is not a member of the progressive team, so he has to be stopped at all costs. Ironic, considering that Trump is what would have been considered a moderate-to-liberal Democrat not all that long ago. Right now, the progs are pushing “cooperation”, which of course means convincing Trump to do things their way.

Email overnight from another newbie prepper, who’s concerned that Trump’s election means an increased likelihood of sustained violent civil unrest. I’ll call her Cassie, and she may well be right. Cassie reminds me a lot of Jen and Brittany, when they were just getting started. Cassie and her husband live in a rural area. They’re both in their mid- to late-20’s, and don’t have children or family living locally. She’s from out of the area. He’s an only child and his parents have retired to Florida. Cassie’s main focus at this point is food. They already have a 30-day supply of canned goods and dry staples, and Cassie would like to expand that significantly.

I suggested that Cassie follow the LDS recommendations for LTS food. Not the current ones, which were greatly reduced about 15 years ago, but the ones that the LDS Church revised greatly downward in 2002. The current recommendations provide only about 1,700 or 1,800 cal/day, which is enough to keep someone alive but constantly hungry. So I recommended the following amounts per person-month:

Grains – 30 pounds of pasta, rice, oats, cornmeal, etc. This provides roughly 50,000 calories, or about 1667 cal/day.

Beans – 5 pounds of dry beans. This provides another 8,000+ calories, or about 275 cal/day.

Oil – 2 pounds, or one quart/liter of vegetable oil, a small can of shortening, a jar of peanut butter, etc. This provides another 8,000+ calories, or about 275 cal/day.

Salt – about 12 ounces of iodized salt. No calories, but essential to life.

Multivitamins – 30 capsules, to replace vitamin deficiencies in LTS food, particularly after long storage.

All of this costs very little, and provides about 2,200 cal/day of complete nutrition. Once she’s accumulated as many person-months as she feels comfortable with, I recommended that Cassie begin adding cooking essentials (herbs and spices, bouillon, baking soda, baking powder, yeast, canned and/or dry milk, powdered eggs, butter, and cheese, etc.) as well as meal extenders (things to turn plain grains and beans into tasty meals; canned soups, stews, vegetables, etc.) Finally, I suggested she add as much canned meat as possible, which will be the most expensive part of her acquisitions.