Permaculture. Natural alternative building. Food forest design. Re-wilding in Nature. Perennial garden design. Wild swimming, new off-grid adventure near Seia, Portugal.

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Portugal

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    Last activity

    24/06/2020

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  2020 

 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

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  • Description

    Description

    As the year progresses, so will our infrastructure/facilities/buildings/fitness/tolerance to dirt.
    But right now, its back to the basics- camping in field.

    If this is an issue- stop now! If not.....HARRAAAAAY!!

    If you are looking for a longer term escape in nature- back to basics, un-plug from the world and re-connect to your wilder side - or maybe you are interested in a taste of living off grid and what it really means to start from the VERY BEGINNING?!

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Vegetarian/Vegan Happily accommodated.
    Permaculture. Natural alternative building. Food forest design. Re-wilding in Nature. Perennial garden design. Wild swimming. Re foresting. Post Fire landscape regeneration, working hard and goofing about with laughter Is our Vibe, and afternoon gin and tonic in the sunshine.

    Hello Hello!

    2020 will be our 8th year of hosting volunteers.
    A whole new DECADE!!
    From experience, we have learnt it is important to give you as much information as we can, for you to manage expectations and make an informed and realistic decision if you would like to come and stay.......

    We are Hannah and Duncan.
    An English couple in our thirties. We have been off-grid for 8 years on a piece of land owned by Duncan's family (they live elsewhere)
    We have been its caretakers, using permaculture principles for our growing and life ethos in general.
    We have been (successfully) experimenting with creating different micro climates to extend our food growing seasons,
    Using this space to grow, try out ideas, its been a wonderful playground in which we have learnt so much
    We have built a stone house, water infrastructure, solar systems serious landscaping.
    We've messed around with super adobe, clay and cobb.
    We have also built two underground geodesic domes and a HUGE, double reciprocal, green, round timber structure, with our own harvested round wood. All, exclusively with volunteers.
    Its been so much fun....
    We are so grateful.

    We still have many more techniques we'd love to try.

    But,

    NOW WE START A NEW CHAPTER.....We have bought our very own piece of land..... to start completely from the beginning again
    We are very sad to say good buy to all that we have created
    but excited, with help again, from excellent volunteers, to Build lots more fun and exciting things to share with all those who come to stay and learn with us.


    We were hit by the forest fires in October 2017. So a huge focus now is water infrastructure, lakes, dams and ponds and swales
    Re-forestation with native (less flammable!) species of trees.

    Our home, despite there currently being
    NOTHING -
    I can not reiterate this enough-
    Nothing-
    we are going back to the serious basics-
    living in a tent-
    no power-
    no water from a tap-
    NO INTERNET!!
    no toilet (yet)
    but to us, it remains, our little piece of beautiful wilderness, mountain views, forgotten by people for a long time and reclaimed by Nature.
    Apart from the occasional plane, (and our dog barking at them) the only sounds are the birds, the wind in the few remaining trees recovering post-fire, The occasional shepherd and his sheep and the stream that flows gently.

    We are continuing to seek help from those of you who relish living close to nature and have a good sense of humour, with strong work ethic along with a pioneering & creative spirit. Who do not mind carrying water, bathing in a bucket and pooing in the woods.

    We will be reforesting with mainly native species, designing and making permaculture inspired gardens and food forests and animal systems as well as creating more fun, natural/appropriate buildings with materials from the land, all the while trying to preserve the ‘wild’ nature of the place.
    For the next few years though- its basically going to be a building site. (partly for managing my own expectation- partly for your own)

    A large blank canvas that is our new home, is here to inspire you! And probably overwhelm us!

    We'll have lots of ongoing activities, mostly un-glamorous such as: clearing, mulching, chipping, making paths and new steps, building fences, chopping firewood, carrying water, weeding and composting. Digging- lots of digging. And lots of dragging dead burnt trees. There are many casualties from the 2017 forest fires- it hit this valley extremely hard- we intend to get as much use out of these burnt trees as possible
    Dragging trees- will remain a prioritising part of our life for the foreseeable future- its a bit dull- but a hell of a work out.

    We need to build a compost toilet, water infrastructure, laying pipes, garden design, planting trees, food forest design, an outdoor kitchen to build, a dome to erect, a tree house/shade house, a shower , a camping zone and the list goes on and on and on! It is literally back to the beginning, so if you have interest in how to start this off-grid adventure (it's not always easy) then, perfect!

    Ideally this is for people travelling in a van
    or bring a tent

    I am going to say it again
    WE HAVE NOTHING!!

    We prefer a minimum stay of two weeks so that you can see the completion of your work.

    We love integrating different ideas and skills and many of our longer term volunteers (longest stay is 13months!) have had autonomy over certain creations. If you have the time and now fancy trying to build a pizza oven or plant a garden or mess around with an idea- but never had a space in which you can, we invite you to come and try!

    We at least hope, that everyone who comes here learns a new skill, tries something different and leaves a little/large creation for us to remember you by.

    One of our main objectives as hosts, is for you to gain confidence and trust in your own abilities in general. Using a selection of hand tools, to understanding the basics of permaculture and the general vibe of living off grid. Growing and harvesting food, vegetarian/vegan cooking. Holistic approaches to life. Making new friends. being silly.
    And to HAVE FUN!

    but like we have said this year is going to be more of the harder labour monotonous jobs, to get some of this wild new land at least a little bit tamer!

    Working from 8am to 1pm depending on the temperature and the work.
    3 ish days a week.
    All of this is flexible, its a working HOLIDAY after all.
    We do work hard! Part of staying here is that you get stuck in to the best of your ability.

    You are then free to enjoy your afternoons/remaining hours/days and weekends however you choose.

    I (Hannah) am a professional cook, and pride myself on creating super-exciting, highly nutritious, seasonal, colourful feasts that are super-duper healthy (95 percent of the time).
    The food and feeding our volunteers as best we can, has been hugely important to us, we can guarantee that we can provide you with utterly excellent lunch and dinner time meals. during the days we ask for your help.
    The diet here is mostly vegetarian, but vegans happily/easily accommodated.
    It will be more basic one pot cooking, lots of stews and curries and soups and banoc- from my yet to be built camp kitchen- but still delicious and lots of it!

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️do you have any special dietary requirements or allergies?*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️

    The rest of your week, we ask you to supply yourselves with your own food, we have no fridge!

    On Sundays we head to our local market to support local farmers. There we buy the extra fruit, veg, cheese, pulses, dried herbs and spices, bread and honey.
    We highly recommend you buying your food from here too- so much better than the super market.

    But most importantly, Sundays are our ''day off''
    we go to eat bbq grilled chicken/vegetables/fish with bread, hand cut chips and fizzy white wine FOR BREAKFAST!
    We love it when our volunteers can join us!! Its very FUN!
    (this is at your own personal cost usually between 7 and 8 euros)

    We have very few neighbours or people to disturb you throughout this entire valley that stretches over 5 kms.
    And you will have access to a beautiful (mostly) exclusive River (which we have not really explored yet) around 15-20 minute walk away
    and ''our'' old wonderful lake just, 45-55 minutes walk away.
    Otherwise we will be creating ''plunge'' pools in our new stream- work in progress.....

    more notes on food-
    We also TRY very hard to only eat Portuguese seasonal and locally grown produce, so if you cannot survive without bananas or other foods from the other side of the world, you might want to stock up on these too. Likewise with luxury items like sweets/chocolate/crisps etc

    We are trying to live a balanced lifestyle, no drugs and only small amounts of alcohol that we ask volunteers to pay for.
    We operate an ''honesty'' bar ......Or you are welcome to buy (and carry) your own booze. We enjoy a beer/gin n tonic after work, but all things in moderation.

    We do NOT invite you into our home to get drunken..

    We are a fun and easy going couple, who love to play and joke about, but we do not consider this a party house. We are up early, we work hard and we like our sleep at night..... most of the time.

    Once we have a power supply again- Hannah likes to put loud music on at least one EARLY (6 a.m) morning a week and dance (like an idiot) It is her meditation, if you like......

    If you have transport, its easy to take trips up the mountain to swim in the lakes or to the river Mondego for a change of scenery. we can direct you to some pretty incredible secret plunge pools and very cold waterfalls.

    We ask you to be conscientious and tidy and responsible for your belongings and most importantly your LITTER.
    Due to the huge fire risk in summer we ask you only smoke in our designated safe zones. NOT in your tent. NO candles in tents either.
    STRICTLY NO FIRES! (it is against the law)
    We can not stress this enough and sadly we will not hesitate to ask you to leave, if you can not respect these wishes.

    In the summer it get REALLY REALLY HOT!!
    We recommend you bring loose-fitting long sleeve clothes to get dirty in and a sun hat. We, on behalf of the stream or river's inhabitants- are very much against sun tan lotion, so just cover up.
    Please note, we use only natural products, i.e shampoo/toothpaste, as all our grey water feeds the ground/garden. Likewise if you are enjoying the river, or a ''shower'', no chemicals, i.e harsh moisturisers or sunscreen or heavy make-up. We can supply you with delicious hand made alternatives, for a small fee.

    We have very limited water in Summer and Autumn (or until it rains) so regular washing is only in the stream or a walk to the river or lake
    There will be a simple hot water bucket (heated in the sun) for a hotwash- you will have to fetch/carry your own water
    You will have to hand wash your clothes, we do sometimes take large amounts of laundry to town and pay to use large machines.

    You will have to walk at least a kilometre off road when we get to ours and probably have to carry your belongings (of course we will help as much as we can) with this in mind a rucksack is WAAAAY more practical than a bag on wheels!
    (Although we will make it work with all sorts of luggage)

    Bring stout footwear, a sleeping bag, head-torch and always know the whereabouts of your towel.....


    any questions- don't hesitate to ask!

    our warmest wishes
    Hannah and Duncan
    HAVE FUUUN!!
    x

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Gardening
    Building
    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Farmstay
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Language practice
    Art project

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    One of our main objectives as hosts, is for you to gain confidence and trust in your own abilities in general. Using a selection of hand tools, to understanding the basics of permaculture and the general vibe of living off grid. Growing and harvesting food, vegetarian/vegan cooking. Holistic approaches to life. Making new friends. being silly.
    And to HAVE FUN!

  • Help

    Help

    We will have many projects beginning.
    Here is a list of a few.......
    And we are always open to volunteers ideas/designs/input.....
    Permaculture design.
    Making compost.
    Making hugel beds.
    Digging swales and troughs.
    Food forest design and planting.
    Decking.
    Green roofing of a ruin.
    Shade house.
    Compost toilets.
    Outdoor shower.
    Water infrastructure.
    Gardening design and planting.
    Perennial Planting.
    Seed collections and germination.
    Cobb work.
    Digging!
    Wood work using our own harvested round wood.
    Peeling trees.
    Chopping wood.
    Carrying water.
    BUILD A HOUSE!!

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Portuguese: Fluent

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    tent/van

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    flying Into Porto:
    Just outside Porto airport is a metro, take this to stop- 24 augosto, the bus station is a 2 minute walk from here just across a little green park type area.
    Ask for a ticket to Seia.
    if you are (or look) under 28 years old ask for a ''bilhetta jovem'' you will get a discount.

    www.
    rede-expressos

    Lisbon is a bit further but the bus or train is also easy.

    our closest train station is called Nelas (pronounced nel-lash)

    www.
    cp.
    pt

    From Seia-we strongly encourage our volunteers to try find their own way to our quinta, its all part of the adventure!
    we will send you detailed directions to find your way along the dirt roads from Travancinha, to ours. it is about 2 km on foot from the village.
    But we are willing and able and can collect you, if you are not comfortable to navigate alone.
    You will probably still have to walk the last kilometre of track as it gets rough.

    A Taxi is around 13-16 euros
    Local bus to Travancinha, from seia, at 3pm that is 3,50euro


    please speak to us before you book bus or train tickets regarding us collecting you from somewhere. we do not like to leave the Quinta after 6pm!! and if we have other volunteers arriving is always nice to car pool.

    Our Quinta is about 25km from Seia. We try to only visit once per week, so make sure you stock up on the essentials before coming.

    There are a few small bars/cafe/restaurant in local towns, each about a 40 min walk away.
    Lagares and Travancinha


    Our social activities are made by ourselves on the land. We make and play lots of games eg. frisbee golf, ping pong, Klugg, Carcassonne, Backgammon, Dice and Cards and we are always open to learn new games. There is a library (English) of educational books and novels to borrow.

    We are in the foothills of Serra da Estrela mountains which are great for skiing, walking, cycling and swimming. The track along our top boundary is part of route 22 of the Portuguese mountain trails. Its Beautiful.

    We have had many many ''first timers'' volunteer with us and all have loved it and return every year!

    look forward to hearing from you,

    our very kindest regards
    Hannah and Duncan

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    12

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Host ref number: 574159519394