David Umling, who was raised on a small dairy farm in Charlestown and later worked for several regional planning commissions in New Hampshire and Vermont, retired in 2017 to a farm (Peeper Pond Farm) he and his wife, Barbara established in eastern West Virginia, roughly 15 miles south of Petersburg. Since then, they have been selling their vegetables and homemade crafts at local Farmer’s Markets, raising and milking dairy goats, and writing books. David wrote his first novel, “Lifestyle Lost,” in 2011 while completing his career as a professional planner, in which he explained his reasons for retiring to his Pendleton County Farm. Since then, he has written and published three additional novels, “Reflections on My Lives: An Adoptee’s Story,” “Country Life at Peeper Pond Farm,” and his first fictional work, “Contagion: Nature’s Revenge.”
These books recount the influential experiences of his childhood and the core values he internalized—from his adoption and subsequent birth family searches to his farm upbringing—and how they ultimately led him to pursue a more traditional, self-reliant lifestyle in his retirement. His writings explain how and why farmers think differently from today’s urban-dwellers, how a rural, self-reliant society works and differs from the way that our modern technology- and wealth-driven society functions, and how we need to adjust our thinking and laws to meaningfully embrace those differences, if we wish to preserve our shared farming heritage and traditional lifestyle choices. His writings also help us understand that a person’s character should not be judged by his or her political views, power, or wealth. Rather, it is the fundamental decency of the core values we internalize and aspire to achieve and the integrity we bring to them by the way we conduct our lives that validate our worth. Through the life experiences, humorous anecdotes and whimsical musings on rural life as detailed in his books, David gives us an enlightening perspective on our changing society, how we live within it and how it ultimately defines us.
Signed copies of Dave’s books can be purchased locally at Violet’s Book Exchange at 28 Opera House Square in downtown Claremont.