Jennifer: Welcome to The Self Reliant Living Show. Today I have two wonderful guests, Danny and Wanda King from Deep South Homestead. As you guys know I always like to read the bio of my guests so I don’t leave anything out. Danny and Wanda own a 10 acre homestead 30 miles north of the Mississippi gulf coast. Since marrying in 2013 they have embarked on a journey to teach others about homesteading skills and becoming self reliant. Welcome, Danny and Wanda.
Wanda: Hello. How are you?
Jennifer: I’m good. Thank you. I’m cold today. That’s a good thing in Texas, right? We finally get some cold weather.
Jennifer: For those that don’t know you at all, could you explain a little bit about Deep South Homestead and what your mission is?
Danny: Deep South Homestead was created about a year ago. Wanda and I embarked on a mission of, like you said, being extremely self reliant, but we also didn’t want to be on this journey by ourselves. We decided to take the knowledge that we had acquired throughout our life, and because homesteading has become such a big issue now, there’s so many people trying to get onboard with it that actually grew up in a time when there was no one to teach them, and because we had skills and we had knowledge, we felt like it would be a waste not to let people learn them, so we decided to start Deep South Homestead and teach people these skills as best as we could.
Jennifer: I love that. You’re right. These traditional skills, they’re disappearing. These traditional skills, like I said, you’re completely right, they’re disappearing I think within just a couple of generations, because my mother did not can or do some of these gardening things that I do and you are doing and trying to bring back, and neither really did my grandmother. Now, my great grandmother did. She had a kitchen even in her cellar that she used to use for canning and things. She had the whole setup. It’s just two generations. If I hadn’t taken it back up, then I feel like it would have been lost. I completely agree with you that these skills are disappearing, and it’s a very sad situation.
You have had your YouTube channel for about a year. This is so exciting that you guys are sharing all of these things that you do on your homestead. Can you share with us what a typical year would look like, because as you said, not everybody understands that things are so seasonal on a homestead?
Danny: Well, a typical year, … First of all you have to understand homesteading is a lifestyle.
Wanda: It takes the whole year.
Danny: It takes the whole year to do homesteading and to be a genuine homesteader. We have a lot of people out there, they like to work at homesteading and call themselves homesteaders, but to be a true homesteader is a full time job. The way we start off is in January we make sure that all of our soil, because of our zone that we live in, which is zone eight … Get this, some years it’s zone nine. It depends on how the weather goes.
Wanda: Right now we’re in zone nine I’m sure.
Danny: We’re in zone nine right now I’m pretty sure.
Wanda: Yeah. It’s been hot for two years.
Danny: January we start making sure that our soil is amended. We go around and we check everything. We check the pHs and everything. We check the fertilization in all of our food plots and our fields and stuff. Then by the end of January, moving into February, we start our early spring prepping. We put some seeds in the pots and getting them ready so that we have young transplants in time. We go ahead and plant our English peas here. We go ahead and plant our Irish potatoes here.
Wanda: Then we start with around, what, the end of March, first of April …?
Danny: About mid-March I’m going to say.
Wanda: We start with other plants. Then at that time berries start coming in. We have all kinds of wild berries between April, May, strawberries. Then we have mulberries.
Danny: Dewberries, blackberries, huckleberries.
Wanda: Dewberries, blackberries, huckleberries. You name it we’ve got berries. They start coming in. I walk the property and pick those. Sometimes we go ahead and make jelly. Sometimes we freeze them. When our veggies start coming in then we also have blueberries. His parents own a blueberry … It’s 100 trees that are about 20-25 years old that produce …
Danny: Around 600 gallons a year.
Wanda: Yeah. Danny and I picked them ourselves for several years and sold them. Blueberry’s a big crop. Then summer comes in and we have …
Danny: By that time most all of our vegetables are up and growing pretty good. Then we go into the summer months of … By the end of May … Let me say this. A lot of people don’t understand the climate that we live in. By the end of May we’ve already harvested our Irish potatoes here. I mean, that stuff’s over with by then. The sweet corn is over with.
Wanda: English peas. Green beans.
Danny: English peas are over with. Green beans are over with, all that stuff. We go into our hotter months where we have things like butter beans, peas, cucumbers, stuff like that we’ll grow.
Danny: Tomatoes grow fairly decent in the heat, but let me say this about a tomato plant. A tomato plant, anything over 85 degrees you start losing tomato value. That’s one reason we don’t try to push them during the extreme heat of the summer is because you just lose too much of the nutritional value out of them.
Wanda: During the summer we don’t go out a lot. It is this past summer way over 100 degrees most days.
Danny: We had over 100 days this year with 100 degree temperature.
Wanda: Plus the humidity’s nearly 100. You just don’t want to go out. We go back out in the fall when it starts cooling off. Then we do our fall, which is …
Danny: We have our corn in the fields that we bring in as dry. Our field corns, we harvest of of our field corns. It goes into the corn cribs in the early fall. We dig all of our sweet potatoes. We get them stored. Any of our dry beans and stuff like that, we try to get all that in. Then we begin focusing more towards the greenhouse, because we have a big greenhouse on the back of our shop. We start moving … We keep some of our plants two, three, and four years …
Wanda: If we can.
Danny: … like pepper plants. Most people don’t realize that you can do that. We have some pepper plants that’s on their third year in the greenhouse now. When spring comes next year those will come out of the greenhouse and go back to the field, and they’ll be going into their fourth year.
Wanda: They produced so many peppers this year.
Danny: They produce abundantly.
Wanda: I mean, lots and lots more than any first year plant. It’s awesome.
Jennifer: Let me just stop you right there and ask you a question. You’re saying that you take things like peppers, and then put them in the greenhouse, and then take them back out into the field. Now, do you plant them back out into the ground, or do you keep them in a pot? How does that work?
Wanda: Those are in containers.
Danny: Well now, we still dig them up.
Wanda: Yeah, but we put them back in a container …
Danny: We put them back in a container.
Wanda: … not in a garden situation, in containers.
Danny: We’ve learned with peppers, peppers grow according to the size container you have them in. We use 47 gallon landscape containers to put peppers in, because your root mass determines your plant. A 47 gallon pot will grow a plant that’s around six feet tall and around three to four feet in diameter. It’ll have hundreds of peppers on each plant.
Wanda: Yeah. They have produced abundantly this year.
Danny: You don’t have to weed them, and you can control the environment that they’re in. You give them the water when they’re needed. They’re not having to compete with weeds and stuff like that. You can control the fertilization in container plants like that. With peppers that’s extremely good, because peppers have to start off warm when you put the seeds in. As soon as the little plants get up if you’ll let them get cool for like a week and then let them get warm again, that stimulates the growth of the plant. It makes them actually produce better.
Jennifer: Wonderful. Wow. That’s great to know. Then what does the fall look like? You’re coming through the summer and you’re harvesting your summer crops. What does the fall look like for you guys?
Wanda: Oh, the fall, pretty much when it cools off a little bit, it’s not 100, but it’s still 80s and 90s here, but we go out and we clean fence rows. What else? We get our firewood in, anything that can be done outside. Here recently we washed the house down. We’ve scrubbed the back porch. Those things that you won’t do in the middle of the summer when it’s so hot.
Danny: We plant food plots.
Wanda: Food plots. Yes, or hunting.
Danny: Taking wild game is a big issue for meat here. Even though we raise our own animals, we do take wild game also, which we’ve done successfully here in the last week or so. We’ve taken a nice deer. Hopefully we’re going to be able to take at least two more will get us through the rest of the year is what we need.
Wanda: Hopefully I’m going to get one this time. I’ve never killed a deer. I’m hoping that I will be able to do that this time.
Jennifer: That’s exciting to do your first hunt. Hopefully you’ll be successful at that. Let’s move on to some other stuff though. Can you tell us about how you were raised really, because I’m assuming you didn’t just study up on all of this stuff. I’m assuming you were raised knowing or learning all of this stuff, but that just might be an assumption, because I know a lot of the things that I teach I wasn’t raised doing. Then also, how has that affected your way of life now? I know that you guys haven’t been together forever. You guys are almost newlyweds. Could you talk about that a little bit as well?
Wanda: Okay. I was raised, my parents had a garden. They canned. They kept things in the freezer and things like that. I was used to that part of it, but I was actually a city girl raised kind of city/country. It’s a small town, but yet now really. He calls me a city girl anyway. When I married the first time I was out in the country. We did have a garden. I raised my children with vegetables. I canned. Actually Y2K was my first prepping thing, you know? I also did three home births. I studied herbs for many years. I have a natural health consultant …
Wanda: … certificate. I have to think what it is. I’ve kind of gotten out of that over the last 15 years or so, but back when my children were small I studied all this stuff. I also home-schooled. We lived in a tiny house, all before this was popular. This was in the 90s. From there all my skills came together with his skills recently.
Danny: Yeah. Me, it was a little bit different situation. I was extremely poor as a child. The people that watched our videos, I’d tell them we had no refrigerator. Our refrigerator was a garbage can with a block of dry ice in it. That was a refrigerator. We had no running water. My dad dug our first well by hand. The old houses that we lived in, you could see through the floors and stuff like that in them. We had newspapers on the walls to keep the air from coming through.
I grew up kind of poor to start with, and we always raised our food. We had a few animals to eat, mainly pigs and chickens. Whenever I got old enough to get out of the house I married a lady who she and I had a farm together, because that was always my dream was to own a farm. We had a farm. I raised all my own animals, my own produce. I completely almost lived off the land then, even though I did hold a job. Then after a 20 year marriage with her I ended up going through a divorce.
I owned land where I live out here now, which I owned a considerable amount of land at that time. I lived in a house, which is actually across the road from us now here. We were homesteaders. I don’t believe in house notes. I built my houses myself. We lived in the houses while I was building them. That was all before codes came in here. You can’t do that now. After going through the divorce I moved across the road into another part of my property over here. I built the house. I re-married. Then I built the house that I’m in now. I think after being married 11 years my wife passed away with cancer. It was a pretty devastating time for me, going through the trials and tribulations of dealing with that. I almost sold the place at that time.
Wanda: Too, his second wife, y’all had accumulated goats, chickens, pigs.
Danny: Yeah. We had milk goats, chickens, pigs, and everything. We were back into the homesteading state of mind at that time, which when she passed away I sold everything I had animal-wise. I didn’t really know if I wanted to keep going down that road. Then Wanda and I met.
Wanda: We didn’t really know what we wanted.
Wanda: We knew we wanted to do something with the land. We tried, what…
Danny: We tried a little truck farming the first year.
Wanda: Yeah. That’s just really tough, and it’s a lot of work. Last year we pretty much decided it’s way too much work if you want to survive at it, because you have to incorporate more land. We have a lot of woods. We didn’t want to get rid of the woods. We prayed about it and we just had no clue. Last December we were watching YouTubes. Danny goes, “A lot of these people, they don’t give enough information.” They would give sporadic three and four minute videos and leave out a lot of the information. We decided to do a YouTube video and put in all the steps that people leave out. It just skyrocketed from there. We didn’t figure we would have 10 or 15 subscribers, and here a year later we’re well over 10,000. We’re excited.
Jennifer: Yeah. I’m excited for you, because you guys have a great channel. Okay. When I have guests on here I have this thing about wood burning stoves. I’d just absolutely love one. I do not have one. I wish for one, but I’m not in a situation where I can have one right now. I would love to hear about yours. Could you tell us a little bit about what made you decide to put one in and then a little bit about how it works and what you do with it?
Danny: This home that I built here, that I mentioned to you, is a Victorian home. With a Victorian homes they all have fireplaces and all that kind of stuff in them. This one is no different. You can look over my shoulder. There’s a nice fireplace been put in here. Well, the only thing about fireplaces is they’re not efficient. If Wanda and I was going to be homesteaders … See, we don’t have a job. We haven’t had a job since we’ve been married.
Wanda: Three years.
Danny: Paying a high electric bill is just out of the question. Using a fireplace that’s not economical is out of the question. My dad had left me an old tractor. I took that tractor and I sold it actually to a guy in Texas. He came over here to get it. I took that money and we invested it in this wood stove you see right here in the background here. It’s not the wood stove that we want, but it is all cast iron, and because it’s all cast iron, once you get the iron hot it stays hot for a long period of time. It really does a nice job.
Wanda: Tell them about the fan. We love this fan.
Danny: There’s a fan. If you notice on top of it, there’s a little heat fan that sits on top of it. It’s actually activated … I don’t understand the principles behind it yet. It’s got an electric motor on it that actually operates off of the heat of the wood heater.
Wanda: It’s called an Ecofan, and we got it a couple of days ago from a friend. There’s no electricity hooked up to it. It does not have electricity, but yet that fan will sit there and spin and turn. We’ve got to check out how, but it pushes the heat through the room.
Jennifer: Oh, wow. That was awesome. You use it for heat. Do you cook on it?
Danny: Yes. We actually have some videos showing us cooking on it.
Wanda: He actually cooked bread on it. I don’t think we have a YouTube video cooking bread, but before we started YouTube we decided to experiment for what if, you know. He decided he wanted to cook bread. He’s gluten free. Back then gluten free bread for us was very expensive. He didn’t like the taste, so I always made it. I told him if he ruined my bread, I was going to be upset. He put a turkey roaster on the stove on trivets. It wasn’t on the stove, but it was sitting on trivets. Then in the turkey roaster he put jar lids, the rings, down in the bottom, and sat my pan of bread over in it, and put the turkey roaster top on top of it, and kept the heat up, and baked bread. The only thing it did not do was brown across the top. We think we could have done that if we’d have put tin foil over the top. It probably would have browned it, but it was awesome bread. It cooked on a wood stove.
Jennifer: That’s awesome. That’s just great. I love that. Jack is saying that your stove is just like his. That brings up the other question that I was going to ask you. You said that the stove has a fan on it, but it doesn’t have electricity. You were saying that it runs from the energy from the stove. That was going to be next question though. Are you guys totally off grid, or are you hooked up in some areas of the grid?
Wanda: We’re not going to be off grid unless …
Danny: Unless an EMP happens. My younger years was off grid. I don’t miss that.
Wanda: We have electricity. We have a pump, but it runs on electricity. He also has it fixed so that we have a pump that we can hand pump. We have the hand pump.
Danny: Yeah. We have a well that we drilled ourselves that we can put a hand pump on if we need to. Hurricane Katrina was a wake up call for us.
Danny: We was 26 days without electricity here in the dead of summer. We learned at that time what was necessary to survive. I’ve made all the amendments that I can make at this point in case we have another situation like that. We actually have underground living facilities now. We have set ourselves up.
Wanda: Being 30 miles from the gulf coast, if a tornado … Not tornado. If a hurricane comes in, you either have to evacuate this area, or you have to have a way to ride it out. Above ground is not optional because of the trees falling and it picks up houses and just destroys them. We have an underground living facility, like he said. That’s also where we keep our stored food and stuff like that. We keep canned food down there. It’s just pretty awesome. We can ride a storm out there.
Jennifer: That’s great. There is a lot of people who decide to live off grid by choice, and there’s people that are trying to get off grid, but I think that that’s the best of both worlds when you can survive off grid, but then you can pick and choose when you decide to use it. You have that there as a convenience, but you’re perfectly capable of doing without it. I think that would be what I would like too. You mentioned just a second ago that you guys don’t have outside jobs. Can you tell us a little bit about how you make a living?
Wanda: Danny is a carpenter.
Danny: I’m a carpenter by trade. I owned my own business my whole life.
Wanda: He can make specialty furniture, and novelty items, and things like that. When somebody needs a special piece of furniture made he can custom build any type of furniture that needs to be made. We have an Etsy store. He makes spoons for that. They sell like hotcakes. I can put five up today and they’re gone by tonight. People want the spoons. They just love them.
Jennifer: Tell us a little bit about these spoons. Are they wood? Are they metal? What do they look like?
Danny: Just a second.
Jennifer: Okay. Now I’m curious. They’re selling like hot cakes. That’s great.
Wanda: They’re actually wood. He’s just gotten …
Danny: I’ve got one right here that I just got through working on in the shop. I do burn our logo in the back side of it here. It will be treated with extra virgin olive oil so that it’s food safe. Some people use them. Some people freak out when they get them and they only hang them on a wall, because they don’t want to get them dirty. I make like three or four different types. This is a small one. I make a larger one. Then I make a little bit larger one than that with holes drilled in it for straining and stuff like that. I make them with the long handles for deep pots and things like that. We have those things. I sell seeds. I sell whatever.
Wanda: I have a cookbook, and he has a book on sweet potatoes from start to finish, how to grow them.
Jennifer: Yeah. We have links. In just a second I will put those up, but those spoons are awesome. I love those. I have to get with you with those spoons and see about those. Anyway, let’s go on to talk a little bit more about your YouTube channel. You were telling us that you’ve done this sort of stuff all of your life. Now, do you get into situations like you say, “I’m going to teach this on YouTube,” and you get into a situation where you’re like, “Well, I haven’t done it before.” Do you do things before you put it on a video, or do you go ahead and say, “Well, I’m just going to let everybody learn with me.”? How do you guys handle that sort of situation?
Wanda: Most everything we already know how to do.
Danny: I haven’t come across anything yet.
Wanda: I cook on the fly sometimes. Now, that’s the biggest thing. He says, “Have you done this before?” I go, “Yeah, but I’m changing something.” He goes, “You don’t change a recipe.” I say, “Yeah. I do.” When I’m cooking my subscribers know that I might tweak it some way, or shape, or form. I always do.
Danny: Yeah. I’m extremely OCD.
Wanda: I am too in some extent.
Danny: I’m a perfectionist at what I do.
Wanda: It drives him crazy.
Danny: When I do something, it’s going to be perfect when I do it, or I’m not doing it.
Wanda: He wants it alike every time, but my cooking is one time it taste this way, and one time it tastes that way, one time it looks this way, one time it looks that way.
Jennifer: You never make the same meal twice. I totally get it. Yeah.
Danny: When it comes to gardening and stuff like that I’ve done it so long that everything is second nature to me. I’ll say this. Occasionally I’ll watch a YouTube channel of somebody’s, and I’ll pick up a tidbit, and I’ll go, “Oh, my gosh. Why didn’t I not think of that.” Nobody knows it all. If you come to that point in life, then you are the biggest fool of all people.
Wanda: We had an experiment this past year. Our corn, we had a big wind come in, and our corn was, what, five, six feet tall?
Wanda: It blew our sweet corn down. We had been waiting for that sweet corn. It laid it flat, the whole field. We had people saying, “Okay. You can do this, this, and this.” We decided to experiment to prove what works and what doesn’t. That’s a lot of what we do too. If people have questions … One person will tell you, “No. Don’t do this.” The next one will say, “Yes. Do this.” They never show the process. With the sweet corn some people wanted us to tie it up, so we did. We ran string and tied some up. Some said that we needed to bank dirt up against it and try to prop it back up.
Danny: Stand it back up. Yeah.
Wanda: We tried that. Then the other, we just left it alone, let nature take its course, left it laying on the ground, didn’t touch it. The corn that produced the most was what was laying on the ground. It stood back up, produced better than anything else. The other two rows that we did and tried to help produced about, what, a third?
Danny: A third of what the others did.
Wanda: … of what the others did. We showed the process so that people knew.
Danny: That’s one of the things about our YouTube channel. If people have questions, we create the video and the circumstances if we have the opportunity, just to show what happens.
Wanda: Except we didn’t create the wind storm.
Danny: NO. We didn’t create the wind.
Jennifer: I love that. That is great. Well, tell us about livestock, because you guys keep livestock. Tell us about what is involved with keeping animals. I know a lot of people garden, but not everybody keeps livestock.
Danny: One of the biggest mistakes … I’ll say this, because I’ve raised livestock my whole life. I’ve always raised herds of cows and things like that. The biggest mistake most people make with livestock is they do not set themselves up properly before they get the animals. The second mistake most people make is they get the wrong animals for the wrong piece of property. They’ll try to bring a cow in and their whole homestead’s not no bigger than an acre, an acre and a half, or they’ll try to bring in cows, and goats, and pigs, and sheep on one to two acres. That’s not feasible. That’s not fair to you. It’s not fair to the animals.
Wanda: People do it all the time, but if you’re going to grass feed an animal, you have to have the land.
Danny: Us with 10 acres … Let me put it that way. Like I said, I had a lot more land before and I run herds of cows on it and everything. When I sold most of my land to make sure I didn’t owe any debts anywhere we downsize our animals. ON 10 acres now, understand we’re on 10 acres, I have four pigs, I have two sheep, and …
Wanda: I have four rabbits.
Danny: Four rabbits. I think I’ve got 14 chickens that free range right now that’s left free ranging.
Wanda: I have approximately 20 egg layers that are in pens.
Danny: That’s pushing the max on 10 acres.
Wanda: We could do a little, but we would have to incorporate the woods. That’s something we’re going to do eventually and let the pigs eat the acorns. They get on to me the way I say it, acorns.
Danny: That’s one of the big issues here. We let our animals live off of the land. I’m going to say this. The four pigs that I have and the two sheep cost me $2.50 a day to feed. That’s all, because they live off of the land. That’s where most people make their mistake. They go and buy these animals. Then they have these $300 and $400 feed bill every month trying to feed these animals. I don’t like using S-H-T-F, so I’m going to say if a life changing event happens and you can’t get to a feed store, then’s when you’re in trouble.
Wanda: I have my chickens in pens, because they’re egg layers, but I open the door and let them go out and eat grass, and weeds, and bugs, and stuff. If something happens, we can let them free range all over the place. They have 10 acres plus woods behind us, 7,000 acres that’s not …
Danny: It’s just woods.
Wanda: It’s just woods. Our pigs are the same way, the sheep. If we had to, we could allow them to eat on land behind us. We’re not strictly on 10 acres. There’s 7,000 back there with no people around hardly that have any kind of animals. Ours could eat. We know that.
Jennifer: That’s the healthiest kind of food that they would produce too though is to be pastured. I love that. That’s a great thing. Then it’s a more sustainable situation, like you were saying. If you have to go out, like you were saying, and buy all the feed, it’s a lot of work to do something that other people are commercialized and they do that. To build up the sustainability of it I think is really the key and also a great point that you brought up, because I think a lot of people miss that, like you said. Now, do both of you do everything, or is there a separation of duties, one person’s better at this than the other? How do you guys handle that?
Danny: We’re a team. We do have our morning chores.
Wanda: … and afternoon.
Danny: … and afternoon chores. She has her egg layers and her rabbits. That’s her deal.
Wanda: That’s mine.
Danny: I have everything I own on my side of it I say is they get a little feed in the morning. They get a little feed in the evening. Most of the time they’re free ranging. I’m taking care of electric fences and just making sure that the hawks are not trying to get the chickens. I drive the tractor mostly.
Wanda: I have drove the tractor.
Danny: She has drove. I have videos of her actually plowing when I had to have surgery. Somebody had to keep taking care of the garden, so she actually did plow the garden and stuff.
Wanda: If he’s working on a construction project or any kind of project around here, I help him. Also, if I’m canning, he’s helping. He makes breakfast every morning. I don’t have to get up and do breakfast. Then I do lunch and supper. Sometimes he comes in and helps with those. If he notices the floor needs sweeping, he runs the broom across the floor. He’s not above that. If I take clothes and put them on the line and he sees it’s going to rain, he grabs the clothes and brings them in. We try to help each other out and see that things get done, regardless. We don’t wait on the other one to say … He doesn’t walk in and say, “Hey. It’s going to rain. You need to go get your clothes.” You know? He just brings them in.
Danny: When it comes time to plant gardens and stuff like that, we work together on planting ad stuff.
Jennifer: Well, I think you just summed it up right there at the beginning. You guys are a team. That’s great. Okay. I want to get back to your YouTube channel for just a minute, because recently I had Esther Emery on, and she was talking about … If you guys do not know who she is, she is from Fouch-o-matic. That is her YouTube off grid. Fouch-o-matic Off Grid is her YouTube channel. She was talking about the community on YouTube and the community of homesteaders. I just wanted to talk to you a little bit about that and get your take on that. She was saying that the community on YouTube, there’s something special there, especially with the homesteading community. I know you guys do a live show, and you interact with people a lot. I just wanted to get your take on that and your thoughts.
Danny: Well, when we first started YouTube we hadn’t been on very long and we realized that we wanted to create our own community. To be a successful YouTuber … I hate using that word.
Danny: To be successful at doing YouTube you have to create a community.
Wanda: We set about doing that.
Danny: That was our goal in the beginning.
Wanda: We mentioned it from day one that we wanted people to get to know each other. We invited them to in the comments not to specifically say exactly where they live, but maybe a town or a state.
Danny: Maybe the town or the state, whatever they’re comfortable with.
Wanda: … so that they could connect. BY the time we had our live show we threw it out there, “Look. If you guys live in the same area, talk back and forth.” Lots of people have done that. Everybody felt isolated. Then the YouTube community itself, we have gotten to know lots and lots of the channels. Some of our favorites are Starry Hilder, Appalachia’s Homestead. Then Danny loves …
Danny: I love thebossoftheswamp. JC’s my man.
Wanda: Then there’s lots of little channels around that we really, really we’ve become friends with. We’ve had collaborations with multitudes of channels and just really got to know them. Recently I did a through a kid’s eyes, and I had about 15 kids join me. They all did their own videos and put them up on their channels. I’ve got a new one coming up. The Pratt family is doing a supposedly Christmas … They don’t know if the kids are going to cooperate with Christmas. You give the kids a camera, let them go film what they want, and choose music, and put it up. That’s been a really good thing for us too.
Danny: Just creating a YouTube community Wanda kind of touched on something there that we run across in the beginning so much was people felt isolated. They’re like, “Well, there’s nobody in my area who thinks like I think. There’s nobody who’s doing what I’m doing.” That’s was one of the reasons we asked people to put up their locations if they would was so that if there’s someone close by you, that you can connect with and you can feel apart of a community. That’s been extremely successful for us. I think that’s one of the things that’s helped push us over the edge as fast as we have.
Wanda: We have lots of personal friends that call, message. They’ve become like family to us, and we think of them as family.
Jennifer: Yeah. I think that’s the … at least it’s my favorite part of this whole business is having a community, because you just learn so much and like you said, you feel connected. That’s part of being human. We’re pack animals. We want to feel like we belong. That’s wonderful. Can you tell us about your faith? You have more than one channel actually. It’s a little bit like a ministry. Could you tell us about that, and how that’s gotten you through some hard times, and how you feel called to share it with other people?
Danny: Well, to start with when Wanda and I first got married we were both of the baptist faith. I was messianic for several years. We wanted a ministry of some sort. We tried to go through a local church. We tried going through just different avenues. We were struggling for about two years trying to figure out what we wanted to do. Then we started YouTube, and to us it was just, like we said a while ago, we wanted to teach people about surviving, how to live off the land, because I taught survival for awhile.
Wanda: When we started YouTube we had this vision that people were not going to like us. They’re going to think we’re southern people that … I said, “Who wants to know about gardening and stuff, but let’s try it.” We thought we would be shunned more or less. We didn’t realize there was a huge homesteading network there already. I told him, I said, “Don’t mention politics and religion.” That was the two things I said stay away from. Within two or three videos the people were mentioning religion. I told him, I say, “Okay. Is it okay to mention this stuff, because they’re mentioning it?” It kind of worked into our ministry and then it’s worked into Danny’s new channel.
Danny: Yeah. I was a ordained minister for several years, and because I went through a divorce I felt like it left me unqualified to be a pastor. Doesn’t mean I still can’t teach or preach. I’ve always looked for that opportunity to have that goal again fulfilled. Well, with this YouTube we did this YouTube and then all of sudden she and I were talking here one night and I told her, I says, “You know what? I feel like God will hold me accountable if I don’t use the tools that are out here.”
We decided to start another channel called All God’s Children where I speak specifically from the bible there, which I do talk about biblical things on Deep South Homestead, but I don’t go into any kind of in depth-ness here, mainly because of just some of the audience. They come here to see homesteading. They don’t come here to hear about the bible. We started the All God’s Children channel not as any kind of a money making venture or anything like that, just strictly present the word of God to people. We’ve had a very positive out-flowing from people on there.
Wanda: We found on our channel that people were asking him questions, and he was answering them, but we thought, “We need to take this to another channel,” just because some people didn’t want to see biblical things. They just wanted homesteading. We were trying to keep it separated.
Jennifer: Yeah, but you can watch both. It’s great. I love that. You’re right. It’s one of those things. You just don’t know what to do. I think you’re right about the politics, because lord knows there’s not much we can say about that.
Wanda: He got into that every now and then. He did a little, but I was trying to rein him in with that and keep out of the political arena on that. I mean, they even had him for president on our live show one night.
Jennifer: Oh, wow. That’s great. I think that bringing in your faith, I think to some degree you can’t get away from it, because we’re talking about these things that are natural and from the lord. That’s how he has given us cycles of life and all of this stuff. We’re talking about all of this stuff that is related to that. I don’t feel like … Maybe, like you said, not going completely in depth, but I feel like that that is still part of this lifestyle. Like you said, you can watch both channels, so I love that. Wanda, you wrote a cookbook. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what kind of recipes are in there?
Wanda: Yes. I guess back … Oh, man. It must have been in April or May somebody asked about would I do a cookbook. I thought, “Okay. This is going to be pretty easy. I can throw some recipes together.” It got really in depth really quick, because I was having to try and format the recipes and everything. It was just getting overwhelming. I had 10 or 12 done, and I’m like, “This will take years.” I went through Morris Cookbook, and they have a format where all I have to do is type it in. They format it, so I don’t have to sit and do that. It made my life easier. I put all of my favorite recipes in there and Danny’s favorite recipes and things like that. We did our own forward. The forward is called A Simpler Time. We chose our own pictures for it and everything. The front of the cookbook, our neighbor’s a photographer, and we had been asked to do a …
Wanda: … the American Gothic picture. We did the old man and woman, and then we did us in new form. The new form is what is on the front of our cookbook, but we do have the old man and woman where we look like the old American Gothic in some of our videos. Then from there the actual recipes are mostly gluten free, and they’re all southern. They’re all peas, beans, corn, cornbread, simple recipes. Everything can be flipped to gluten free. I tell in there how to flip them, because a lot of people don’t want gluten free. Use the regular stuff, but if you want gluten free, it’s really easy. I’ve sold over, what, 225 of them in the last few months, the last three or four months. I thought that was pretty good.
Jennifer: Oh, yeah. That’s great. Carla’s saying that she needs to check your channel out. Yes. You do, because it is a great channel. Can you tell people where to find you? YouTube of course, but please tell us again about YouTube and then website, Facebook, Twitter. How can people connect with you?
Wanda: Oh. We’re on YouTube as Deep South Homestead. We also have a Facebook page called Deep South Homestead. Etsy is Deep South Homestead. Our email is email@example.com. What else?
Danny: Our web.
Wanda: Our webpage is DeepSouthHomestead.com. I think that about covers it.
Jennifer: That’s a good list.
Danny: We don’t do all the Twitter thing, Instagram, and all that kind of stuff. We don’t have enough time.
Wanda: I am back into the secretary mode again. I told him I left that to have a simple life and not doing anything. We started YouTube and it’s like an hour …
Danny: It’s a business now.
Wanda: … hour and a half every morning just to check all media and be off and on through the day. Then at night it’s another hour, hour and a half. Then we package Etsy. Etsy has to have all this packaging. It takes a lot out of our day just to do what we do here for YouTube. Then we have to go out and deal with animals …
Wanda: … and cook, and film, and …
Wanda: … editing. Another hour or two editing.
Jennifer: Yeah. You guys do a great job of all that. You make it seem like it’s super easy. That’s wonderful. Well, I thank you so much, Danny and Wanda, for coming on. It’s just been an absolute joy to talk to you guys.