Well what can I say about us, We are Alex, Sandra and Molly, living on a farm situated 30km north of Castelo Branco in a village called Sao Vicente da Beira, We live right by a beautiful dam which is great for relaxing, fishing and generally chilling out.
Our Farm is 13 hectares and registered protected land, we are only 1.5km from the village in the forest and home to us, our 5 dogs, pigs, chickens and ducks, along with loads of beautiful wild life, lizards, butterflies, foxes, wild boar, Eagles, falcons, Herons,Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, African hoopoe's infact 100's of different birds visit our farm at all times of the year.
The farm was pretty run down when we arrived in 2014 having been abandonned for well over 15 years.
Every day in the first year here we discovered more and more as we cleared the land. There is a large rare working 1940's Lister pump which pulls water from our river, we have running spring water everyday of the year with water mines, a Fonte, and a kilometer of river that always has water, stunning views of the Gardunha mountains, and endless peace and quiet!
Alex has cleared almost all the land as loves being and working outside, he loves nature looking after the animals and the land. He is or rather was before spending most of his time working ;-) a keen fisherman and with our land running up to the barrage he wont take much encouraging to take you fishing at the weekend.
Sandra used to ride/show horses in the uk and also loves animals and is the main reason we have 5 dogs, but dont worry they love people.
Molly, our daughter is 15 but everyone that meets her thinks she is much older, she was the youngest girl to enter a horse show and rode unaided at 18 months old! in the uk she would spend all her time in the stables with Sandra, but no longer rides as we dont have a horse now, she generaly looks after the chickens collecting eggs and boxing them for sale helping with the pigs etc and mucks in with any job around the farm.
The dogs, Scrapit, Benji,Harriet,Milly and Lucy are our family and our house is there home too. they are always clean and love people, they spend most of the day doing what they want outside which generaly means not far away from where we are working sat in the shade somewhere.
We are meat eaters and smokers.... if you have any food allergies please let us know
Help with Eco project
You will learn how to live the Portuguese way! growing organic food to eat, animal care, tree pruning, olive harvesting, stone wall rebulding, fencing, how to use tools and equiptment (if you want to learn to use them), most importantly you'll learn to love life on our little piece of Portuguese Paradise and enjoy sun, wild life and peace and quiet. but hopefully you'll have some fun and enjoy your time here.
The farm has over 500 olive trees many of them very old but still produce great virgin olive oil. over 170 fruit and nut trees including 10 huge chestnut trees that give wonderful chestnuts. 500 plus cork oak trees and hundreds of other native trees, a eucyliptus forest, hundreds of grape vines some over 70 years old and the vegetables that we grow for ourselves and as animal feed.
we can share what we know and have learned from the locals about running and maintaining the whole farm in the three years we have been here.
From about May onwards we do many of the local fairs and festas in the local area where we have our own stall and we serve homemade hamburgers, lots of homemade drinks, cakes and we have are own spit for doing our roast pigs, they are a great event and are very social, a great way to meet the locals and have lots of fun.
Depending on the time of year you visit you would be welcome in November-Deccember to come to the lugar (olive press) on the tractor and trailer as we take our own olives to be pressed, it is a great social experience and often take food and wine to watch your hard work be taken from the trailer and come out as your very own virgin oive oil, we go a few times as we can get upto 6 tonnes of olives each year.
Hopefully we will all make some wonderful memories.
What we would love is for some help getting the farm to how it once was before it was abandonned and help us put our mark on it and hopefeully we can all learn something new along the way.
Alex has cleaned most of the farm so mainly the work now is maintaining it and some areas that need a bit more work to finish it off, so it can then just be maintained, strimming cutting grass in the future... its almost there, the hard work is done.
Strimming, gardening, watering trees, general tidying up, gathering fire wood and pine cones from our forest, help out with the animals, maybe even help with some fencing (veggy patch) or painting would be great. We do have a tractor with front bucket and many tools so if you like to work with the land tidying etc you won't be expected to do any heavy work or lifting, Alex will do it with the tractor........... we have all safety equipment if you want it.
Perhaps rebuild or rather re stack some stone walls from old stone on the ground where some parts had fallen over and just want roughly re-stacking basically, there is always something to do, the veggie patch always needs something doing, even helping with the olive picking November to December time or help build a home for the tractor!
Planting seeds, growing vegetables, watering etc. Fruit picking...
We bought the quinta with the intention of putting in some wooden pods and yurts for tourism, open the farm up for visitors to walk around and can see pet the animals but since the problem with the builder we put all our plans on hold but we are now looking at starting this early next year (2018), there is work to be done over this winter in the lovely sunny days (the best working days, summer is just too hot) this will involve some general garden tidying, strimming in a few areas we want to site them but we are thinking about strawbail houses built in a funky style might fit in better. They will have solar and an eco toilet that uses a normal flush toilet and a small rustic stone/cement bbq area outside.
Being handy with woodwork or making things, cement mixing, general building knowledge, or just good with your hands is always a bonus as another project we want to start over winter, if someone is interested, is to re-vamp our forno (bread oven) some of the work we want to do are; remove the simple wooden roof and raise it and then extend it and re tile it with the old roof tiles saved from the house, cement between the stones on the walls, make a new cement/stone bbq fit some work tops and hope to make a nice place to sit and eat.... also thinking of a small stone built fire pit inside for the winter months. Should be a fun project.
Any help is always welcome.....experience isn't neccessary, we won't ask you to do anything that we wouldn't be willing to do ourselves.
All we ask is you are honest, enthausuastic, willing and able, have a love for our 5 crazy dogs, an escaping piglet (no longer escaping :-) ), and you don't mind being part of our crazy farm life then say hello.
We think and hope that you will enjoy it here.
If you feel you want to come and experience some time with us then please get in touch, we hope to see you soon.
English Some Portuguese
Sadly our house isn't completely finished due to the builder! but we can offer you a cosy new tent for 2 people, sleeping bags, feather pillows! and blankets if needed, you are welcome to bring your own accomodation, caravan, campervan if you prefer.
UPDATE.... we are converting a small building attached to the main house for workawayers to sleep...... will be nice and cosy!
The house downstairs has newly tiled floors, and the new bathroom is pretty much finished cosmetically so is clean and fully working. We have new electrics and hot water, a new clean hot shower, and a flushing toilet fully working.
perfectly liveable just If you're looking for 5*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ accomodation then here is't for you.
We will do our best to make you feel warm, welcome and wanted.
In your spare time Castelo branco is 20 minutes away (by car) there is a bus twice a day, In CB you have cinema, restaurants, shopping Mall, great outdoor store (Decathlon) everything pretty much you want, even a Mcdonalds and a Burger King if your craving junk food!..... which we don't recommend ; -)
At the end of our driveway (2 minute walk) is the Barragem do Pisco, you can fish, (we have some fishing rods) the barrage has hundreds of large carp, Barble, and black bass, you can swim or just chill, what ever takes your fancy.
there are hundreds of marked walking routes and some pass right next too our land so if you like walking there are some stunning views to be hand on these many walks.
In our village we have a bank and cash point, 8 bars/cafes, a small restaurant , 2 well stocked village shops, post office, a Bakery, Doctors, a great Pharmacy, football pitch, local scout group, gym equipment/fitness area and in the summer months the village swimming pool is open, the village has pretty much everything you would need!
In the summer months, most weekends there are parties in ours and local villages, always something happening!............ some of the parties last 4-5 days!
Locally there are several things to go and see, in our village is a small museum with many things to see and telling the history of the local area, they are building another bigger one at the moment.
There is a small roman fonte close to our quinta, great churches to see and village square, there is another church set in the forest just outside the village with a running fonte and stream with bbq areas for people to use and large granite tables in the shade...... the other neighbouring villages are also great to see, all can be seen by bicycle.
We have 2 bicycles if you want to go off exploring on your own.
On our farm we have the original forno (bread oven) which is in great working condition, you are welcom to use it, or we can show you how to use it to make bread or cook pizzas perfectly in under 3 minutes, there is also a bbq you are welcome to use.......( the building this forno is in, is also another project, we want to remove the small roof, raise it as it is a bit low and extend it and generaly give it all a make over to give a great place to relax day and night.)
in the summer months we have a large water holding tank filled with water from the river by the big pump it is always full as is what irrigates the land, it is also great for swimming, surrounded by huge lavander and rosemary bushes it is always full of wildlife and a great place to sit or take a dip.
We are at the foot of the Gardunha mountain range (Serra da Gardunha), so called by the Moors (Gardunha or Guardunha meaning refuge), is located in central Portugal, in Centro Region, beyond the Serra da Estrela range, giving way to an extensive plain called Cova da Beira. It was covered with vineyards in the time of King Dinis, who reigned in the 13th and 14th centuries. But the sovereign decided to pull them up and replace them with chestnut trees all over the Alcambar valley. The valley became known as the King's groves. Unfortunately though, due to man's negligence, violent fires destroyed a significant number of trees, although some areas were reforested. Pirâmide (1,223m/4,013ft), is the highest point in Gardunha mountain range.
Lisbon is a 3 hour train journey from Castelo Branco,
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week