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Hi, my name is Rute, I’m Portuguese and I have a small farm near Évora in Portugal. The farm is located 30km (19miles) from the city of Evora just 150 Km from Lisbon and 100km from Spain.
I bought this farm mainly to have my horses close to me since I work in this region but I’m also trying to have a more self-sufficient and sustainable approach to life.
I'd like to at least keep chickens for eggs, land clearing and fertilizer. Unfortunately my job requires that I travel a lot and I still haven't gotten round to rebuilding the chicken house and a chicken tractor. For now it’s just a vegetable garden and several fruit trees. Depending on season and growing of the trees/bushes there may be oranges, pears, apricots, grapes, peaches, plums, physalys, figs, apples, medlers, strawberries, elderberries, mulberries, wild blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, quinces, walnuts, almonds and even pomegranates. FYI in August there's a lot of wild blackberrys at my place!
I have my own vegetable garden and fruit orchard because I prefer to eat vegetables and fruits that are free from chemical and pesticides. It is great to just go there pick whatever I want and eat it straight from the tree/bush without any problem. I believe that raising and growing your own is more than a lifestyle — it is life.
I also have at the farm my 4 horses (riding them is allowed if you know how to do it and I'm present), a dog, a cat and occasionally some other animals.
Help in the house
I want who comes to help me to have the most enjoyable time possible, but I hope you understand that I won’t be able to take you out to visit the area too often. My job and the work at my place won’t allow me much time to do it. You'll have to do it on your own.
However, my farm is located between 3 small typical Portuguese villages on walking distance (around 2Km), each with a tiny grocery store and a local bar where the locals meet for coffee and social company. They are always very pleased and excited to see strangers coming by. Even if they don’t really understand foreigners since mostly only speak Portuguese and maybe a little bit of Spanish.
There's also Évora just 30 Km (19 miles) away and is one of Portugal's finest and most delightful little towns. It is a true open-air museum with a large number of wonderfully preserved monuments and buildings of public interest that led UNESCO to protect it as a World Heritage Site.
Closer to my home (14km) , there's also the town of Arraiolos where you can visit the Castle, the Arraiolos Tapestry Museum and the "Aldeia da Serra" exibition which is a terracota sculpture garden.
You can also go to the Divor Lake where you can swim, go fishing (you'll need a fishing licence that you can get at Évora) or bird watching. (HEADS UP: the lake is 15km from my place so if you're not bringing a car your options are to ride my bike to get there, call a taxi, take a bus until half the distance there or to go with me on your free days on my way to my job).
Also if you like wine tasting, this is a wine county so there’s several wineries close by.
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY MY PROFILE AND ASK IF THERE IS ANYTHING YOU DON'T QUITE UNDERSTAND. Some people that I've hosted haven't done it and get a little surprised when they get to my place.
That said, I'm looking for positive and motivated people that are not opposed to getting their hands dirty. I have lots of different jobs that I need help with and help required will vary according the time of the year and what needs to be done. You can always send me an email specifically asking about what I’ll need you to help with during the time that you intend to stay.
There are plenty things to do and new things to do show up every day. Unfortunately, during the week I usually work full time and do not get much time to tend to all the things that need to be done. The progress with the work to be done will vary with the weather and the skills and abilities which you will introduce. Nevertheless, I won’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't do myself. I try to treat everyone as individuals, attempt to work within their personal abilities and if possible I'll try to give you new experiences and knowledge. I'm a DIY kind of person so I know how to do pretty much a little of everything.
But, as I have a job, helpers that want to stay at my farm should be prepared to sometimes be working alone during the day if I have no other volunteers here.
As for helping hours, the following options are available (you can help yourself freely to any vegetables from the vegetable garden regardless of the option you choose):
OPTION ONE - 15 HOURS HELP PER WEEK over 3 days (4 DAYS OFF)
In return I offer only accommodation and if necessary I'll give you a ride to the supermarket so that you can buy the food for you
OPTION TWO - 20 HOURS HELP PER WEEK over 4 days (3 DAYS OFF)
In return I offer accommodation and I’ll cook for you either lunch or dinner (if I’m not at work it will be lunch and if I’m at work it will be dinner) each day of your stay including on your days off as well. For the rest of the meals, you'll have to buy your own food.
OPTION THREE - AROUND 25 HOURS HELP PER WEEK over 5 days (2 DAYS OFF)
In return I offer accommodation all week and food for breakfast, lunch and dinner on each day of your stay. One of the meals is cooked by me not including on your days off (if I’m not at work it will be lunch and if I’m at work it will be dinner) and as for the other two meals I’ll buy you the necessary groceries (within reason!!!) and you'll cook for yourself.
Any other food that you may want to consume between meals (like cookies, beer, juices, etc.) you'll have to pay for them.
I must warn that although some of the meals that I cook are vegetarian and that I’ve been trying to eat more vegetarian meals (they’re cheaper and healthier) the truth is that I’m also a meat and fish eater so while I can cater for non-meat eaters the menu may not be the greatest every day. Also I must warn that the Vegan philosophy doesn’t really work for me (don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against Vegan people and respect their beliefs but there’s just to many restrictions regarding food) so if you’re a Vegan and want to come give me a hand at my farm I will be delighted to host you, but you’ll have to cook all your meals.
The hours of help that I'll require from you will be distributed unevenly through the week. The weekend days will probably be the ones when you'll have to do more. Which means that your freedays are likely to be during the week and may not always be the same days every week. But that is something we'll coordinate between us when you get here.
Starting and ending of the work’s day will depend on the weather. But if the temperature expected for any given day should be high you may have to start working as early as necessary to take advantage of the morning’s low temperature. FYI, on June, July and August sunrise is around 06h30m in the morning and by 10 a.m. it can be already extremely hot. Temperatures may go up to 43º Celcius or more!
You won’t be expected to work outdoors during extreme heat or rain. I don’t do it, so why should you have to?
In the summer, if the expected temperatures are to go above 38ºC, working hours start around 0700. I’d be grateful if you could get yourself out of bed and be ready to start on time by then.
Yes, I realise that it is indeed very early for many people, (especially because you’ll probably be on vacations) but you'll have the afternoon all to yourself to relax, take a nap or if you so desire it go summing at the lake.
If it’s not going to be that hot than working hours start around 0800a.m. in the summer (June, July, August and September) and 0900a.m. the rest of the year.
English, Portuguese, Spanish (not very well)
I know that volunteers usually enjoy having their own space so you’ll stay in your own house that you may have to share with other workawayers. This is an old house, built in 1881 using rocks and earth. It has a kitchen and a living room in an open space concept, a bathroom and two bedrooms. If you would like to come with friends, I can accommodate up to 5 volunteers, depending on previous bookings from other helpers. One of the bedrooms can host up to 3 individuals of the same sex and the other one can host 2 individual of the same sex or a couple. If you’re coming alone you’ll have your own bedroom, but if you’re coming with a friend you may have to share the room, depending on others workawayers being here or not. Nevertheless, the house's recovery is still a work in progress, so don't expect to much luxury! Also, for hot water showers you'll have to go to the main house since I still haven't installed a water heater at the house where you'll be staying.
Also I advise you to bring a sleeping bag if possible, especially during the winter as the house gets a little bit cold. I’ll provide you with a pillow and some blankets, but no sheets.
In spite of you living in your own house, it is expected that you'll keep it tidy and don't leave glasses, bottles, dishes and other stuff lying around, especially outdoors. When you leave, you’re expected to leave your room as clean and tidy as how you found it.
Although your room is off limits to me, I’ll free need access to the common areas of the house to get to the other rooms where I have my tools and horse riding gear.
Based on previus less than perfect experiences with other workawayeres - thankfully not that many - I think that it is mandatory to warn/remember whoever want's come to my place that although you'll be living in your own house you're still a guest at my place and therefore I expect you to be responsible and mature enough to respect the furniture in the house and the house rules.
If you prefer there's also lots of space for camping or you can even bring a caravan.
Be prepared with working gloves, a pair of jeans (or any other kind of long leg trousers even during the summer), walking/working shoes, at least a sweatshirt/jacket (even if its during the summer because sometimes it gets cold in the evening) and warm clothes during the winter.
HEADS UP: The Portuguese sun is unforgiving. To work comfortably outside you should have some sort of hat and maybe a light, long-sleeved shirt. If you neglect to cover up the sun will bite you and it will not be fun. Especially if your skin is really white!
I like to meet new people and make new friends (hopefully!). I have been hosting workawayers since 2014 and new friends are always welcome.
That said, I know that some volunteers are looking mainly for a cheap vacation and some of them don't like the hard work; I totally understand it, but I need help around the place and that is the main reason why I’ve became a host. If I ask you to do something I expect you to do it and not spend half of the time sitting down waiting for time to pass.
I'll need to know the precise date you will arrive and the approximate date you plan to leave (we can always extend your stay if we get on great, but the walls are not elastic so I do need to do some forward planning). If possible, plan to arrive on a Thursday. This is not mandatory. You can come any other day of the week. It's just easier for me and for you if you arrive on a Thursday.
Happy to pick up volunteers from a nearby bus stations. But since I also have a job, I will only be able to do it after 5 p.m.
Bear in mind that I’m located in a quite rural area. It’s a great place to relax and if you enjoy horses and animals in general and a quiet rural way of life I think that you will enjoy volunteering at my farm. Nevertheless, I advise you to bring at least one book or something else to occupy some of your free time.
If you are looking for big crowds and sophisticated wine bars and nightclubs this experience is not suitable to you.
If you want to you can also ride my bike to the nearest villages or take the bus to go to the nearest towns. There are several buses during school time (SET-JUN), some during July but almost none during August.
Your animals are welcome. Nevertheless, like I said, I have a dog. A MALE dog. So if you’re bringing a female dog you may end up leaving with a litter of puppies since my dog is a very love giving animal to the ladies. Whichever animal you want to bring please be advised that it will not be allowed to stay inside the house. At the most it can stay in the garage.
Also, it's not unusual to see foxes, rabits, quails, falcons, wild boars and other wild animals.
I would advise to bring mosquito repellent and even a mosquito net to put over the bed, especially if you're coming during the summer. The mosquitos can be quite annoying.
Finally, I think it is extremely important to point out that usually hosts spend some of their time and resources by at least preparing their home for a helpers visit (at least I do). There is nothing obligating a workawayer to go to a certain host house and it’s in their right to have a change of heart and decide against going there. However, I find extremely annoying and a complete lack of good manners when people change their mind about visiting and don’t inform the host. There may be other people interested in coming and by not giving the host a heads up, as soon as possible, these rude people are putting in jeopardy those other people’s stay at the said host house. There is no need to make up excuses and what not. Just inform that you won’t be coming after all. I don’t think it to be that hard.
I don’t know the rest of the hosts’ opinion on this subject, but by my book this shows a completely lack of respect, up bring and consideration for a host. I hope you understand this issue and that, please, if for some reason you contact me to come to my place and afterwards change your mind, let me know about it as soon as possible.
Nevertheless, even if you decide not to come to my little place I wish to you all the best and happy travels.
Looking forward to hear from you soon,
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week