Help with a 'hobby' farm and animals near Marvão (Alentejo), Portugal



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  • Description


    In Oct 2009 I acquired a renovated farmhouse which has nearly 8 acres of land with beautiful views situated near Marvão. The land is varied & consists of terraces, some flat & rocky areas with 320 olive trees, cork & fruit trees, vineyard, bullrush ponds & streams.

    We currently have 4 friendly sofa loving & playful dogs, 4 crisp stealing affectionate cats, 4 ungrateful but amusing geese, 1 daft gosling & its adopted mother duck (& aunty), 5 dappy curious sheep who love a massage, a mixed bunch of entertaining chickens, & last but not least there are the 3 characterful lovable donkeys. In other words liking animals is very important ...... If you do not totally 110% GENUINELY enjoy being around them ...... please choose another host!!!

    ** all the animals are primarily pets. However, even though I rarely eat meat now, very occassionally practicalities have necessitated in the past that a goose or male lamb has gone in the pot / freezer (not very likely to happen from now on - just so you know).

    Some of the Jobs that need doing are:-

    ~ painting inside of the house
    ~ animal care (feeding, refresh water, cleaning dishes, daily donkey hoof cleaning)
    ~ Help keep the land clear
    ~ weeding of flower area
    ~ build a safe pen for geese.
    ~ create a colourful garden that can cope with dry weather
    ~ watering plants / veggie plot
    ~ clear out the ponds
    ~ restore stone walls
    ~ lay paths & create steps
    ~ restore & thatch chossa (outhouse)
    ~ build fencing & gates
    ~ Nov/Dec I will need help again with picking the olives pruning the trees..
    ~ and a whole host of other things that I haven't thought of..... yet!

    What has worked well is that we all share the tasks of cooking & clearing up afterwards and the basics of keeping the house clean.

    YOU ARE MOST LIKELY TO GET A POSITIVE RESPONSE IF ........ it is clear from your enquiry that you have taken the time to throughly read my profile & written your enquiry specifically for my place. If it is obvious that you have blanket emailed your host enquiries then I generally do not invite people to stay.

    I have a huge interest in dog / animal behaviour and training & have spent many happy years attending courses, seminars & conferences in the UK, America and Belgium learning from many inspiring & wonderful people. I'd now like to find the time for us to have fun putting into practice what I've learnt!

    Anyone coming to stay would need to be happy to spend time in very quiet peaceful surroundings (the Algarve this is not! Hence, no discos or heaving sardine packed bars!!). There are however lots of places of interest to visit, beautiful walks, quiet roads for cycling and a very eclectic, friendly & sociable international community.

    It is important that sometimes you are able to work independently & with initiative. I will be happy to show you around the area & include you in any social events but I do appreciate people who are also comfortable with & able to entertain & amuse themselves!!

    Experience has taught me that a minimum 2 weeks stay works best. I'm also open to people staying for longer periods of several months if things work out for both of us. One volunteer friend from 2010 is in the process of selling her house so that she can move over to the area permanently!

    I am Dutch but English is my first language having lived most of my life in England. I'm currently working hard to learn Portuguese and brushing up my Dutch, French and German! If you are learning languages I have lots of language resources & would be happy to language 'buddy' with you.

    A non-smoker, flexitarian (mostly cook & eat vegetarian - occasionally eat meat & fish ), enjoy wine & good conversation accompanied with tasty food. Eclectic taste in music (but I have an aversion to most Opera though!) and dance. On recent visits to the UK I bought some African drums but as yet have not had chance to learn how to play them. Any djembe drumming teachers out there?. I now have 4 drums for jamming sessions! Despite the fact that I can't play music or sing to save my life we have had some fun musical & singing evenings here. One of the most recent was a volunteer who could play the musical saw!

    Accommodation consists of an ensuite bedroom or 2 very cosy caravans situated in the olive orchard. There is plenty of space if you want to pitch up a tent or park up a campervan.

    I am also a host on another volunteer website & have lots of reviews on my profile there.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help in the house
    Animal care
    Language practice
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Help


    The things that I need help with is varied & I really appreciate if people can work under their own initiative and look for themselves what needs to be done as I really dislike clock watching (!).

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Dutch and some German, French & Portuguese

  • Accommodation


    Accommodation consist of ensuite bedrooms or cosy caravans situated in a particularly gorgeous spot with a wonderful panoramic view. There is of course plenty of space if you want to pitch up a tent or park up a small camper!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Mobile reception is extremely unreliable - the best way to contact me is email. Please write a little bit about yourself & why you would like to visit my home. Thank you.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Average of 5-6 hours per day x 5 days (not necessarily all in one go) plus sharing of cooking, cleaning & having fun!

Buddha enjoying the attention from volunteer Michael (hoof cleaning)
Buddha enjoying her hayball.
Volunteers helping to collect stones for repairs of walls, build steps & restoration work.
Elvis & Mowgli
Local festa meal.
Liz & Kelly adding the finishing rustic touches to a very successful first attempt at fencing (January 2010)
Liz helping with feeding of the lambs (Jan 2010)
The 5 dogs & Elvis the kitten (December 2009)
Looking back across our land to the house (December 2009)
Local goat herd
Looking out across the 'vegetable-plot-to-be'.
Walking with Margo & Wilma on Roman Road which goes up to Marvao (45 mins uphill ..... but the walk back is sooooo easy!)
Medieval Market Castelo de Vide - summer of 2009
The beautiful village of Marvao

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