We (Richard and Ishbel, both from the UK) fell in love with Portugal in 2001 and bought our Quinta as a complete ruin in 2002 and have been renovating it ever since. Our valley is beautiful, full of wildlife and next to a lovely river with spectacular views over the Serra da Estrella mountain range. The property is what is known in Portugal as a Quinta, a small farm and ours is off grid with a great solar system and our own bore hole for water.
We have 2.5 hectares of land which includes two houses (one of which we run as a guest house), workshops, including a lovely art studio, a large vegetable plot with a big poly tunnel, vine and kiwi tunnel, raised beds, fruit trees, an olive grove, vineyard and a small woodland.
In addition to our guest house business we also run successful courses in Natural soap Making both solid soap (cold process) and liquid soap which can be used for a huge range of products for the home and personal use, we also run stained glass courses using the traditional lead came method as well as copper tape. We are always looking for new workshop ideas!
We are passionate animal lovers - currently with 3 dogs - two rescued, Ella a German Shepherd, Blue an English Springer Spaniel and Ted a Portuguese mixture. We also have two cats (both rescued) Maos and Kiko as well as numerous chickens and ducks, we also keep free range pigs at certain times of the year. We are thinking about keeping sheep in the future as well. We welcome volunteers with their own animals but only if they are well behaved as our farm is not fenced in and we have other animals on site all the time.
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
Learn how to make gorgeous, natural soaps as well as lots of other lovely products using beautiful handmade liquid soap (hand and shower soap, laundry, dishwasher, scrubs, shampoo, toothpaste etc.), we are always developing new ideas for workshops, currently decorative solder techniques and jewellery. Ishbel also teaches stained glass and is working on some really fun new courses for Autumn 2018.
Our Quinta is on the edge of an amazingly vibrant village with lots of bars and restaurants. There are also lots of really interesting and fun festas throughout the year. Lots of lovely local markets with local food and produce.
Music - Ishbel is a keen fiddle player so there is always the opportunity to play music as she regularly rehearses with the band and gigs locally (folk, skiffle, bluegrass, blues etc.) - bring your instrument and join in!
Learn how to cook in a real outdoor wood oven, and cook authentic Portuguese recipes. We are looking at providing a "build and bake" course in the Autumn, which would be about building an outdoor oven from scratch and cooking in it, help for this would be great.
You will also have the opportunity (depending on the time of year) to help and learn how to preserve our produce using the canning water bath method as well as making chutneys, jams, cordials and juices.
We always have lots of fun jobs to do around the farm some require special skills but lots are suitable for people just willing to help. We need help in the garden (which is, of course seasonal) this includes weeding, hoeing, planting, sowing, installing irrigation systems, pruning, looking after fruit trees including picking. We produce a lot of our own food so help here is really welcome.
Looking after the animals, walking dogs and cats (yes our cats quite often come on walks!) , feeding chickens and ducks as well as piggies when we have them.
Picking olives and taking them to the press to make our own olive oil, maintenance of our small forest area, picking grapes from our vineyard and helping to make wine, we also make juice from our desert grapes and other fruits as well as preserving vegetables using the canning method and making chutneys and jams.
We are also very interested in providing another guest space, we are thinking about building a tree house/tiny house with a large terrace which will need a new vermicompost system. We also want to build a wood fired hot tub.
Building work which could include carpentry, tiling, block work and rendering.
Logging, if you have chainsaw skills then cutting trees, log splitting and stacking.
When we have workshops we always need help as we provide lunch and refreshments for the course participants, some computer design work would also be useful. We are always looking for new teaching opportunities using our lovely art studio and workshops.
English and basic Portuguese
Camping in tents, we will provide you with a good size tent and you will have use of an amazing hot shower and flushing toilet. Bring your own towel and shampoo please. We have space for basic caravan/camper accommodation so live-in vehicles are very welcome. We will provide you with electricity and water. We have fast fibre broadband which is free to use. You will have the use of our washing machine and clothes line too.
We usually like to eat lunch and dinner together, this is a time to catch up on what has been done and talk about plans for the day. You will be responsible for your own breakfast, we are happy to provide bread, eggs and milk. We love to eat good food and lots of it! We are meat eaters but enjoy vegetarian food as well and are happy to cater for various diets within reason, just ask. We would expect volunteers to help our with food preparation as well as cleaning up after meals as part of the daily duties. This will also include (depending on the time of year) picking vegetables and fruit for cooking as well as collecting eggs.
In the summer it is best to work in the mornings (before it gets too hot), this means that you will need to be up and about at a reasonable time. Winter hours can fit in with the jobs we are doing at the time.
We sometimes have animals on the farm which we raise as meat for the table.
Cooking is fun as in the summer we have a fabulous outdoor kitchen including a huge and very efficient wood oven (great for homemade Pizzas), during the winter we have a lovely wood fired range with two ovens.
We live next to a vibrant, lively village within walking distance where there are bars and lovely restaurants as well as a small supermarket and pharmacy. There are regular buses into our local town Oliveira do Hospital (6k away) but we are happy to take you there as we go there regularly to shop.
Volunteers have the opportunity of taking advantage of the many walking and cycling trails around us, you can go for miles without going anywhere near a road, the trails are usually very good but there are lots of more advanced trails for experience mountain bikers and off road motorcyclists. You can swim and paddle in our river - although we do also have an above surface large pool for our visitors which is usually available from the beginning of June until October depending on the weather. There are also many fantastic river beaches very close to us (20 mins drive), you will need a car or come along with us when we take the afternoon off!!
Beaches and surfing are about 1.5 hours drive from us and there are also many lovely historical cities to visit such as Coimbra and Viseu. if you are interested there is a possibility of flying in a light aircraft as well!!
Canoing, Rock climbing and horse riding are also available (for a charge) locally.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week