This is a one-hectare off-grid smallholding in Central Portugal. The location is quiet and off-road but we have several neighbours nearby and a village within easy walking distance. The house used to be a stable for oxen and the land is in a wide valley and consists of a meadow and a small patch of woodland with oaks, cork oaks, elder, willow and blackthorn.
I have been living here for 12 years with my teenage son and more recently my baby daughter. We have dogs, cats, goats and chickens. We have a vegetable garden and herbs. Our water comes from the rain, the stream or the well. We have a small solar panel for lights and charging phones etc. We cook on gas in the summer and on a wood burner in the winter. This is not a project or a tourism development - we just want to have a healthy simple life, and not leave too much mess behind us.
Help with Eco Projects
You can learn about our way of life plus specific skills such as making goats cheese, designing simple solar hot water systems, solar photovoltaics, composting, medicinal herbs, soap-making... We speak English, Portuguese and Dutch and can help with learning any of these languages. I have many years' experience of the ups and downs of off-grid / low-impact / rural life – if you are thinking of taking that direction in your own life then you can try it out here first.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Generally - help is needed with the day-to-day jobs of looking after the animals (mainly the 3 goats: milking, leading them out to graze, collecting food and cleaning the stables), looking after the land / garden (clearing brambles, cutting firewood) and some maintenance work on the buildings. There are also some longer-term projects such as extending the herb garden, building another water tank, making a carport and improving the guest / workaway accommodation with its own solar shower. I have to work to earn money several days per week as well as fitting in farm work, housework and trying to be a good mum, so I am pretty busy and only need people who are willing to work.
There is a barrel-top gypsy wagon (single bed) and a tipi. The camping area has its own compost toilet. In the house there is a shower with hot water (in the summer). In the winter we wash with a bowl of hot water and a flannel. It's basic compared to modern western standards (it's probably easier to list the things we don't have – no TV, no washing machine, no fridge, no central heating, no high-speed internet, no bathroom...) but you will have all the things you really need and you will be made to feel at home. We cook and eat in the house, the meals are simple and vegetarian but we usually have plenty of fresh eggs and goat milk. If you have your own camper van or live-in vehicle we have flat parking space. Non-smokers preferred, especially in the summer due to fire risk (we do not smoke, even if your browser displays 'we are smokers'!).
I used to be a volunteer on farms so I do understand what it's like to be a volunteer worker, I won't expect you to do any jobs that I wouldn't do myself and although life here is basic you will share in all that we have to offer.
There are lots of great places to visit and things to do in the area - historic towns like Tomar and Coimbra, beautiful castles and viewpoints, hiking trails, swimming lakes.. I sometimes do translations for a local tourism group so I'll have lots of suggestions for your days off!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week