I moved to Portugal in 2010,to start a new chapter in my life.I'd just started a family,and felt that a quiet rural existence would be perfect for raising small children.
So,my partner and I threw everything we owned(well,almost everything)in the back of a caravan and set off.It was to be a while before we found a place that suited us,but in the meantime I got busy(through sites like this actually!)working on peoples farms for food and accommodation,and learning new skills(I'd never picked up a chainsaw before)while we searched for our earthly paradise.
Eventually,we found it.A small quinta of two hectares nestling on a hillside just up from a beautiful little village(Avô)where two rivers meet and join.
This means we have a river beach(VERY important in the summer!)less than 15 minutes walk from our land,a couple of cafes(open all year),two little supermarkets,a bank with a cash machine(the two don't always go together here!),and a pharmacy if you ever need one!
Since we first arrived on our land we have endured a huge forest fire(first time in 50 years my place had burnt,my local friend told me!),and unfortunately a separation,which leaves me trying to run this place on my own!
Help with Eco project
Well,the differences between rural Portugal and Portuguese city life are (I feel)quite pronounced!it really is' back to basics' here!things are changing slowly but if you want a little time in a country community relatively unchanged from 30 or more years ago,this is the place!The people are friendly and (if you can communicate)want to know all about you!!the prices are low,the restaurants are cheap,and the wine is (usually) great!
On top of all that of course,you will,as I had to, learn about tending grape vines,managing woodland and building houses!(although,if you already have these skills,I'm always willing to learn more.......looking forward to meeting you all :)
TYPE OF HELP:
builders,gardeners,landscapers,eco builders(compost toilets,solar showers etc),cooks,bottle washers,and labourers.
The house on the land (ok,barn type thing)needs renovating and although I have recently turned my hand to roof building,it's all a lot easier with a few extra pairs of hands!
The idea is to eventually open a centre for seminars,workshops and retreats with rustic camping,showers and kitchens.Anyone who volunteers will be welcome at an event of their choice once we are up and running(for free of course!)
At the same time(and at various times of the year)I need to harvest and prepare my Olives,and grapes,trim and prune fruit trees,cut the grass,manage my little piece of woodland,control the brambles which grow everywhere(especially where I don't want them!)look after my animals,and maintain the water channels and terraces.(there are also a thousand other little jobs that have slipped my mind for now.....you get the idea.
* I do occasionally use cement(shock,horror)but in general I am trying to keep the place as organic and sustainable as possible.
I use no artificial fertilizers or pesticides on my land and all cleaning products are bio-degradable,as they all go directly onto my land or down into the rivers.
I need people who have a sense of humour with a positive 'can do' attitude.The work will be physically,and mentally challenging for the most part,so people unafraid of hard work and who relish a challenge are essential.
It can be difficult for people to get used to physical work in extreme heat so most of the hard work will be done in the morning,with gentler jobs in the afternoon or evening if necessary.
English,a little Portuguese,and a little French
I live in my caravan with no electricity or running water,and that's how you'd have to live too.
There are plenty of lovely spots on my land to put a tent,or for small stays(of up to three weeks)there is a spot next to my land where you could park a van or truck.
Washing yourself is done from a cold water tank,we collect drinking water from the village(10 minutes down the hill-but the water is straight out of the hillside,cool,sweet and containing no chemical additives :),and for more serious toilet considerations we use compost pits in the ground(one of the first jobs next year is to build a compost toilet!)A nice lady in the village will do clothes washing loads for 6€ a time(at your expense,I'm afraid)
Don't let any of this put you off. I've been living this way for several years and I'm still alive!Also,conditions here are certainly no worse than your average summer music festival.
because,as I've said above,the quinta is an organic one,only biodegradable toothpaste,soap,shampoo,washing powder etc will be acceptable,and that stuff is hard to find here in Portugal.Please bring your own!
I will be providing three meals a day.Breakfast and a big dinner at the end of the day.Lunch never seems to be a big thing for me as it's usually too hot to eat much,but I'm sure you'll get hungry,so there'll be bread,cheese salad etc for then.
Things can be a little flexible,as long as we get 5 hours work done a day during the week!Saturday and Sunday are your own.
When not working,you are free to enjoy my quinta,there are beautiful walks to villages further up into the Estrela mountains.With a car you are only an hour away from Portugals famous university town, Coimbra,or about an hour and a half from the seaside towns of Figuera Da Foz or Aveiro.It's an incredible place, I hope you'll agree.
A LITTLE MORE INFORMATION:no internet,we have pets,non smokers prefered :)
Feel free to contact me for more information,or with any questions you might have.But please remember,that i am offgrid,and so my ability to reply to emails is affected!!please allow a couple of weeks for a reply.Thank you :)
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week