Simple Country Living at Whitehall Farm

This interview was featured in our Fall 2021 Issue

We are Dale and Karen Thompson. We call our place Whitehall Farm (which was the name of a plantation in a show we were watching when we first moved here). We are located just outside of Amish country in rural northeast Ohio.

How did you find your farm, and how long have you lived there?

We moved about 3 hours north of the Cincinnati area a little over 3 years ago. Dale wanted to get back to this area, he grew up not far from here, and I was up for an adventure! We were planning to build a home, and this house was nearby and for rent. We fell in love with the property! We had just begun talking to each other about the possibility of staying here when the owners approached us about buying the property. It was just meant to be!

Did you grow up on a farm? If not, what drew you to a simple country life?

I grew up in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio…Dale grew up in the country, although not on a farm. We have zero farming in our background, zero! Dale felt a strong urge to get out to the country, and I have always loved animals so I guess you could say I was lured here with the promise of baby goats! Of course, it has turned into so much more than that! 

Our farm was previously a family-owned dairy farm, and the house was built in 1900. The house was completely renovated in the late 80’s. And that’s pretty much how we got it… as an 80s farmhouse. Thankfully the wrap-around porch and good bones were intact. We have slowly been updating and adding the charm back in. There was always a warm and safe feeling about this house. It just feels good.

I think the best part of the farmhouse being previously renovated (although not our exact style) is that the downstairs was opened up. It allows much more light and flow, but it still feels warm and cozy. It is a work in progress, but it’s evolving, and it keeps getting better.

What Are Your Favorite DIY Farm Projects? What has been the hardest?

Oh, I have so many favorites! Inside, I love the staircase makeover! Outside, the stock tank swimming pool and the garden area are my favorites! The hardest?? hmmm. They are all a labor of love but peeling wallpaper has probably been my least favorite. btw. I only have 2 more rooms of wallpaper left to remove!

What Do You Love About Country Living?

There is a really special feeling here. It feels slower-paced…but truthfully, I have never worked so hard! Maybe it feels slower-paced because I enjoy all of it so much. I learn something new every day. I just love jumping in and trying. I started my first vegetable garden last summer with 2 4×8 raised beds. I’ve always grown flowers, but I had no clue what I was doing trying to grow food, but I was willing to try! I’m up to 8 raised beds this summer, with more in the works for next summer. I’ve had so much fun learning.

Name one thing about country living that you maybe didn’t expect or you could do without.

Driving. Everything is at least 20 minutes away…or more: the grocery, the post office, restaurants, civilization, everything.

Do you grow a lot of your own food?

Some. Sometimes I have a hard time eating what I grew. I am a city girl…but I’m working on it! The bugs in the garden freak me out! For instance, I had no clue that most broccoli gets a little pest called cabbage worms. They are easily removed with soaking after harvest, but you never see that on the broccoli at the store, probably because it was grown with pesticides…or it was soaked. I enjoy gardening too much to let that get in my way! It is kind of empowering to know that I can grow our food. I just love that.

How many animals do you have right now?

Lol. So Many. We have 5 adult goats, 3 baby goats with more due any day, a donkey, 2 ducks, 3 barn cats and one inside, too many chickens to count, and 2 dogs.

We love a good find! Any thrifting or FB marketplace finds that you turned into something cool on your farm or in your farmhouse?

We love thrifting! One immediately comes to my mind. The vintage farmhouse sink from marketplace! Dale built a potting table for me in the garden and was able to hook the sink up with running water. Did I mention it was only $50????

What are your future plans for the farm?

We would love to turn our barn into a wedding/event venue! We are a ways off from that, so for now, we have started renting out other spaces on the farm for smaller parties. We recently hosted a “petting zoo” first birthday party in our garden, and it was so fun. We have been brainstorming all the ways we can share this farm with others!

Any advice for someone who wants to live a simple country life but hasn’t made the steps yet? What is something you would do differently if you did it over again?

The simple country life is a state of mind. I think you can feel that warmth and connection anywhere you live. Maybe you can’t have 8 raised beds…but you can grow veggies in containers on a balcony. You might not be able to deliver farm fresh eggs to your neighbors, but you can drop off fresh baked cookies. My advice…start where you are right now! The only thing I would do differently, I would have started sooner!

*All photos provided by Whitehall Farm.

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