Currently looking for somebody sensible for immediate help around our smallholding.
PLEASE, BEFORE YOU ASK ABOUT VISITING US - read our profile and make sure you know exactly where we are in relation to your location. We enjoy sharing our unique location and experience here but find it very frustrating to have guests bunk off at the last moment, at times without even bothering to tell us. It does matter to us so a little respect please. You come here as guests, not slaves, we take a lot of trouble to make sure you are comfortable here which costs us time and money. We know that situations can change, sometimes at very short notice, but tell us!
But first check that you do actually want to come here!
That said we really enjoy having such interesting guests to stay!
Two years ago we started a new project, having been invited to supply our market produce to one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Last year we were supplying two. Still very small scale but this has turned around our thinking and hopefully making a future for our small holding.
Whereas previously we were looking to find a long term, possibly retired person to join us here, now we are looking for somebody with dynamism and a real feeling for the country side, who can take this project forward with us. It does not matter if you have no experience in growing veg or farming...life experience is just as valuable. You can bring different skill sets and enthusiasm.
The hours are long, everything is ploughed back in, this is the reality of living from the land.
Due to health problems John now needs full time care but has absolutely no intention of giving up, but at times this means I cannot spend as much focus on being with our helpers so you need to be fairly self sufficient. Common sense is much more important than having specific skills.
We are a an English couple Jeanette(58) and John ( who celebrated his 87th at the end of January) living in the Alentejo region of Portugal. We are in a quiet location but not remote with a 1.3 hectare smallholding Set in an olive grove. We are near to a lake but water level is very low, but at last we are getting some rain.
This year we are making a co-operation with the land owners around us to better utilise the ground, so we are intending a usage swap to enable us to grow things closer to our water supply and maybe a little less affected by the micro climate we have...
We have a recycled and experimental approach to growing vegetables which feeds us, our menagerie and many friends including the local Bombeiros and the summer Helicopter firefighters Canarinhos.
We have some disabilities but strive to overcome these issues through innovation. We encourage others to come and learn here, not just about growing food but about themselves and what they can achieve as human beings.
We love music, arts in all its forms, nature and are professional photographers covering socio documentary and local events.
John has had many different lives and a wealth of skills and experience, myself - I went to the university of life (which I still attend on a daily basis) and have worked in many fields from Horses, small animal veterinary nursing, floristry, farming, both agricultural and animal, was for 26 years a teacher of oriental dance for adult education, a qualified reflexologist, plus we had a business prior to leaving UK providing education and installation of small scale renewable energy projects. We are off grid here but have a normal household regarding power supply so a chance to learn about this too.
We have 4 cats and currently 2 loopy dogs of our own plus sometimes others who come as visitors.
We have chicken for eggs (sadly not free range due to predation) We have re-established a breeding colony of ducks for eggs, mainly rare breed Abacot Rangers and a few Rouens. The ducks also help with our eco management strategy.
We are located near Ourique (in Beja district not the one near Lisbon), 10 minutes from the main North/South main road systems and 5 minutes from the train station linking Algarve and Lisbon. We are 1 hour north of the Algarve.
PLEASE it is of utmost importance - if you decide to book a visit with us but have a change of plans do let us know as soon as possible, we also have to make plans for your stay to be comfortable here and others may be turned away who could have enjoyed the experience! Thank you!
Help with Eco project
Help with Computers / internet
Visitors can exchange ideas, language, culture. This is a unique part of Portugal to visit ecologically and historically, being everything from near desert to coast, productive farming to steppe reserves. Nature is predominant, fantastic for birdwatching and many different fauna and flora to learn about. Stargazing is fantastic here as we do not have street lighting close by, being in an ecological zone.
We are Solar powered and used to teach this subject in UK where we had a small business in the field of renewable energy and sustainable building. Our intention is to utilise some spare solar capacity this autumn, which will be installing more panels of different types, and when we can afford to buy another controller to integrate this with our current input to reduce our use of diesel for pumping water.
We can share our experience in creating a diverse food system, from composting to zoned areas, raised planting and unique ideas in ground cover to prevent moisture loss and soil erosion.
We have a large collection of music from around the world, have loads of books, sorry only in English, from novels to history to how to build a composting loo.....love the arts in all its forms, and of course our passion for capturing the everyday situations and changing light through our love of photography....
Not under the Tuscan sun but......If you are thinking of leaving the nine to five rat race and think a little place in the country would be nice, then come and 'try before you buy'. Learn if you really have what it takes.
We do not have a huge amount of tasks as we are trying always to create a system which helps us manage in a more friendly way to ourselves and the environment. Friends who have stayed here recently have helped clear weeds, prepare ground for planting, planting out, harvesting in the Olive season. There are many small projects to keep us all amused. This is not high intensity working but finding a level that suits everyone while getting jobs done. Sometimes a bit of muscle helps but we do have lots of experience of getting tricky situations sorted by using a bit of focus first.
Be aware we do have lots of bugs and creepy crawly things around, most not dangerous and the spiders are more afraid of you, we also have snakes and sometimes scorpions. If you are allergic to stings please bring medication you might need for this, also check you Tetanus jabs, this is important as you will be working with the soil.
We do not have set timetables here, we ourselves work every day as this is a working holding with livestock and plants which need some care every day. If you need a strict timetable then maybe this is not the place to stay. We try to accommodate people who need specific times off, sometimes for study etc...there are times when it is all hands to the deck, at others there will not be much to do usually because it is too hot.....we try our best to take care of our guests to the best of our ability.
Some guests have found this is a good place to practice meditation. When we have adverse weather conditions, especially heat in the summer, there might be long spells when you need to amuse yourself. We have a good range of books, video, music CDs and DVDs available. We have upgraded the internet for our guests to be able to use. Car hire is not available in our local town but easily available elsewhere if you need to have greater freedom to get around. Buses and Trains go to Lisbon and Algarve. We have also obtained a bicycle which need a little TLC but could be used for short visits out and about or for keeping fit.
English and a little Portuguese
We offer a studio room set up for 2 people. It has its own shower room with toilet, separate entrance from our own house in a quiet location (except for frogs and birds). We provide cooking facility and plenty of food, especially fresh from the garden.
There is room here for a camper van and or a tent if somebody is hiking their way around.
Our Students who have stayed so far assure us it would be possible to make up a third bed but we think the room is more comfortable with just 2...
We have developed an 'elevated yurt' with some of our helpers and it has been tried out and found to be very comfortable, it has a double bed and mossie net, this can be used when camping is not such a pleasant idea due to weather conditions, or as the case recently when we had an overlap in arrival/departure....use of bathroom and cooking facility will be worked out with whoever is using the main room.
Due to our own strange working hours we do not cook for our guests, but everything is provided for you to eat well as and when you need to. This has worked well with our visitors so far. We have managed, with help, to enclose the terrace and create a dedicated kitchen space .
We would prefer to host non-smokers, this is partly due to elevated fire risk and issue that have arisen with people smoking in the guests room. If you must smoke please you must respect the rules and not smoke inside the room or in the outbuildings.
It is a good idea for visitors to have their own transport (car hire?) as there is very limited access to public transport in the near locality. There are buses, taxis (Ourique) and trains (Funcheira) nearby . The west Coast - Costa Vincentina is well worth visiting about 45 minutes drive, Lisbon is possible to visit in a day or weekend, as is the Algarve. During the summer there are many Festivals, most for local saints - lots of music etc., and many Festivals celebrating the Ancient Islamic heritage, with re-enactment and street fairs. There are no pubs very close as we are not located in a village, there are local cafes a 10 minute walk away and the famous Piri-piri chicken at the cafe of Manuel and Maria on the dam of the nearby lake which is walkable if you are reasonably fit.
Our house is located in a quiet valley, with 2 other homes nearby. The nearby farms are not habited so little opportunity to practise Portuguese language skills there.
You will need to be able to amuse yourselves in your spare time. We limit our travelling around due to our own very small budget. When possible guests will be able to come with us for visits to Ourique (normally twice a week) or further afield with us when we are able to.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week