The Adventures and Misadventures of the Newbie Texas Prepper, by Patty H.

Well I must say after prayer and a heart to heart with the Almighty and many undisputable news about our economy I have felt the need to start prepping.  Oh and where to start? Wow was I ever overwhelmed at the prospect of starting prepping for an economic collapse or other unfortunate event.

First, telling the hubby. I got laughed at. Yes, I was down. But I found, where I got started with baby steps. So off to the grocery store I went. I started a little bit at a time, buying rice and canned items on sale.  Then the adventure begins!

– Now in Texas most of us do not have basements or root cellars. The weather is ever changing. The hot humid weather just doesn’t allow for good conditions. Basements flood out, have seepage or root cement cellars crack due to the ground that shifts constantly in our area especially. We suffer from heat, extreme humidity and we mildew and mold a lot. If you do decide to purchase a pre-made one, you must have a dehumidifier. Your best bet would be to have a good, dark cool closet in your house.  Some people have put there root veggies under the house wrapped in newspaper with chicken wire to keep varmints away. It will keep the potatoes fresher longer (unless your house is on a slab, then find a good cool, dark spot in the house away from everything, do not store on carpet–use cardboard, or cardboard boxes,etc). So I have designated space in a closet or two.  I also purchased some extra shelving, etc.

You must practice your canning before TSHTF. Believe me, don’t wait till it happens to decide to get the pressure cooker out and learn how. Get it out now. Practice, just like anything else, you have got to learn it. It is not easy at first. Enlist help in the older generation, a grandma, aunt, etc. Make sure your stove can use the pressure cooker. Mine was a smooth top. Not all smooth top ranges can use all pressure cookers.  You can also purchase a separate burner or use the Coleman Stove. Make sure you check the cans after a couple of months and see if they show signs of mold or anything. Make sure you did them correctly. Taste test some.  Practice making meals with some of the food you have stored.

Storing grains won’t be hard if done correctly. Remember Texas is humid, all year long, even in winter.  Make sure area is cool.  Use those O2 absorbers, they will be very helpful. If you don’t you prepare well you will have rancid grain and weevils (nasty pests). Make sure you plan for possible rats or mice too (sticky traps or regular traps). From my experience flour doesn’t store well. Wheat stores much better. Best get a good grinder. Storing rolled oats for oatmeal is also excellent.

There are many lakes and tanks (ponds) to fish or gather water on, but these are usually on someone’s land. So be careful or you could have the barrel of a gun pointed at you if you trespass. Most Texans band together in a crisis. If you have something to trade or barter and are friendly, most likely you will find a friend. Also, if you are storing water, be careful of the containers. The cheap plastic milk like containers don’t last long if not stored properly. They leak and make a mess! Buy water storage barrels or water storage tanks if possible.

So far, we have bought a wind up flashlight that will charge our cell phones. It also has an AM/FM radio. We are also installing solar panels for energy. In Texas, we get plenty of sunlight so that will not be a problem.

– Guns and Ammo.  In, Texas of course Guns. But with that knowing how to use them properly. So we are all taking a gun safety course. [JWR Adds: For those in humid climates I recommend buying as many stainless steel guns as possible, and frequently cleaning and inspecting your guns for any signs of rust. (Mark your calendar if you are the forgetful sort.) Your gun vault or hidden firearms wall cache should be equipped with a Golden Rod dehumidifier. That small investment will save you much grief, later!]

– in Texas, you need to be prepared for all types of weather.  Sometimes in December you get 80 degree days and in April you may get snow. The old saying “Yup, if you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes — it’ll change!” Our weather is definitely one of a kind. In the summer it is very hot. The difference in our heat as compared to other I think is the humidity. You could get a heat stroke very easily. So without air conditioning to which we are all accustomed, it would be quite a change. In the summer, in Texas it gets very hot. Do not cook indoors.  Consider installing heat reflective film on your windows or get them tinted before TSHTF. This will cut down on your electric bill and save money right now! We did it and it really does help.  Use shelters like overhangs, patio overheads and awnings to prevent the stream of sunlight through the windows on the sides of your home that face south and west.  Ice down or soak a bandana in cold water and wear around your neck. Keep hydrated. Avoid tea, caffeine and alcohol. You don’t want to end up with a heat stroke. Okay, winter time. Good thing is we don’t have too many really cold days but we do have some. The best thing would be to have a wood stove in the winter to heat the house.  Our roads are not made for ice. Have extra chains for your truck or SUV in case of those rare icy/snowy days. Be able to cover plants and/or bring them in.

– Gardening in Texas can be a challenge, but can be done all year because of our mild winter.     We have never been able to grow potatoes in our area due to fire ants. But now with the new container gardening, potato gardening is so much easier! Texas A&M has terrific information on container gardening for Texans. Another good site for Texas container gardening and hot climates is:

I have also been doing the square foot garden method using cider blocks as I have a bad back and this method has proven to be easier to maintain. I use the holes in the cinder blocks to plant herbs.  An excellent site is There are also tons of YouTube videos that show different ways people have done their cinder block gardens.  I had difficulty getting seeds going at first. So I consulted with some masters of gardening, and they told me to use seed starting system, which is no more than a little divided tray. You use a soilless growing mixture, pre-made you can buy. I bought a tray at Wal-Mart with directions on it, also has directions. It gets your seedlings up and going then you can transplant.  You see ours kept getting eaten up by grasshoppers or bunnies. So really watch them after transplanting.  July-September grasshoppers are bad in Texas. They strip everything. You may even want to purchase something to drape over them.  Trees are also a good investment.  Peach, plum, and apricot trees grow really good around here. You will need several to cross pollinate with each other.  Grasshoppers love these too. The best thing to do is to stock up on Demon pesticide. If you would see how these little pests strip everything, you would be wise to do so, it is worth gold. 

Mosquitoes –   Bug bites bleh…mosquitoes.  They are bad here.  We all have our jokes about our mosquitoes as big as birds.  If you have Off or bug repellant, use it. If you have failed to and are eaten up by the little bloodsuckers, then take cotton balls dipped in witch hazel and rub over affected area. Calamine lotion will help some too. Try not to scratch! (Texas-raised kids like me heard that a lot!) a good plant for repelling those nasty buggers is lemon grass.  This grass is rich in a substance called citral, the active ingredient in lemon peel. This substance is said to aid in digestion as well as relieve spasms, muscle cramps, rheumatism and headaches. Lemon grass is also used commercially as the lemon scent in many products including soaps, perfumes and candles. A related plant, (Cymbopogon nardus) is the ingredient in citronella candles sold to ward off mosquitoes and other insects

Also people put up Purple Martin bird houses to attract Purple Martins. They love some mosquitoes and it’s a Texas tradition of sorts for people to put up Purple Martin houses to get rid of the little buggers.

Remember to always to do lists. Check and recheck that you got everything on it. Talk to family members that are not prepping, but don’t get the Bible out and preach, yet. Just tell them everything that is going on. Let them know it’s better to be prepared and if nothing happens will at least you are ready for when something does. Pray for them. Ask the Lord to put it on your heart what to say.