Permaculture. Natural alternative building. Food forest design. Re-wilding in Nature. Perennial garden design. Wild swimming. Help us to start a new off-grid adventure. Near Seia, Portugal.

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Portugal

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    14/09/2019

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This listing is a Last minute host. They have let us know that they are looking for help immediately as well as at other times of the year.
  2019 

 Min stay requested: at least a week

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  • Description

    Description

    **WE ARE SEEKING RESPONSIBLE AND TRUSTWORTHY HOUSE SITTERS- end of SEPTEMBER TO middle DECEMBER 2019** (dates to be confirmed)

    Ideally a couple or two friends, own transport ideal- but we do have a very old little car that can be used for shopping trips or emergencies.

    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?

    minimum chores- like chopping fire wood and keeping house clean....track maintenance (digging water channels) when it rains/if it rains and monitoring of electricity storage/usage...
    (if it rains for two weeks there is no power)

    But mostly and importantly you will just be just enjoying the beautiful space that is our cosy off grid home, glorious walks, private river swimming and an almost exclusive lake-
    please get in touch!
    you supply your own food/drinks etc....

    ***************************************************************************************************




    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Vegetarian/Vegan Happily accommodated.
    Permaculture. Natural alternative building. Food forest design. Re-wilding in Nature. Perennial garden design. Wild swimming. Re foresting. Landscape regeneration.

    Hello Hello!

    This is our 6th year of hosting volunteers. 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 7 years on a piece of land owned by Duncan's family (they live elsewhere)

    It is beautiful land of massive granite boulders, dry pine and scrub ridges, regenerating oak forests, fertile terraces and a magical, undeniably wild and wonderful river.

    We have been its caretakers, using permaculture principles for our growing and life in general.
    We have been experimenting with creating different micro climates to extend our food growing seasons,
    We have been using this space to grow, try out ideas, its been a wonderful playground in which we have learnt so much
    We have built a house, water infrastructure, solar systems and done a huge amount of landscaping.
    We have built two underground geodesic domes, all with volunteers, now one of which is used as a shared bedroom for our fantastic helpers.
    We have also built a double reciprocal, green, round timber structure, again exclusively with volunteers, all from our own harvested wood.
    We've messed around with super adobe, clay and cobb.
    But still have many more techniques we'd love to try.

    We were hit by the forest fires in October 2017.

    All our animals survived and our house that we built is still standing, so for this we feel very blessed.
    We still have a ring of oak trees around our home, now green in leaf and the land recovers well.
    But generally the landscape in this entire area is in need of a lot of re forestation/restoration.

    Our home remains our little piece of beautiful wilderness, forgotten by people for a long time and reclaimed by Nature.
    Apart from the occasional plane, (and our dogs barking at them) the only sounds are the birds, (including early morning cockerels) the wind in the trees and a river that flows through, it's life is still comparably abundant. Supporting turtles, kingfishers, otter, mongoose, stoat and martins to name a few.

    Now we start a new chapter,

    We have just, this year, bought our very own piece of land- just 5 km away- eeeeeeeeeeeexciting!!!!

    So, our priorities are changing this year.

    The new land, has nothing other than ruins, a beautiful stream, mountain views, a few trees recovering post-fire and heaps of potential!

    We are starting all over again,
    but remaining to live where we are for the time being, or at least until we are a little more set up at the new place.

    This process of moving is going to be an evolution , we don't quite know what that means and how it will happen. We are making it up as we go.

    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 limited water and pooing in the woods. (We do have a compost toilet at our current location. But are yet to build one at the new land)

    We are 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.

    A large blank canvas that is our new home, is here to inspire you!

    We'll have lots of ongoing activities, some more glamorous than others such as: clearing, mulching, chipping, making paths and new steps, building fences, collecting/germinating seeds, chopping firewood, carrying water, weeding, composting building a compost toilet, getting a roof on a little stone ruin, water infrastructure, laying pipes, garden design, planting trees, food forest design, an outdoor kitchen to built, 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!

    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 have had autonomy over certain creations. If you have always fancied 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!

    You can help yourself to breakfast. Oats and cereals, fruits, jams, our free range penicillin free, chicken/duck eggs, bread, tea/coffee etc
    then we head to the new land where we ask you to help us, in the mornings,
    from 8am to 12pm depending on the temperature and the work.
    3 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, is 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.

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️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 lots of fridge space!
    We invite you to stay and enjoy our home ,potentially, without us; as We, (Duncan and Hannah) will most likely continue to head to the NEW land more often than not.
    If we have the right people then we may even start camping out a few nights of the week-if everyone is happy-in which case you can sleep in our wilderness house!

    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)

    The land is large, so lots of places to find peace and quiet. Even when we have a larger group of volunteers (up to 12)
    You can always find a place to just be.
    Depending on what sort of experience you desire is up to you....
    swim naked in the river, bathe under the falling stars and not be bothered. Sleep, read, whittle a spoon, drink a beer, or just sit on our porch and play games.

    We have very few neighbours or people to disturb you throughout this entire valley that stretches over 10 kms.
    And you will have access to a beautiful (mostly) exclusive lake just, 6 minutes walk away.


    More notes on food-
    We rear totally free range ducks/chickens/pigs for meat. I mention this now as I know some people are not comfortable staying places with this set up. No animals will be "honourably dispatched" during your stay, unless its an emergency/a predator kills and leaves something (in which case we will eat it). But, if you desire/are interested to learn about the process, I am happy to educate.... Food, and our symbiotic connection/relationship to it, when choosing this lifestyle, is a passion of mine. If we do eat an animal, it's the perfect excuse to get all of our friends together to celebrate and share.

    We do not buy/support the soya products industry, If you cannot live with out this whilst you are with us, please bring some with you.
    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.

    We have a fortnightly Pizza night that is open to the outside world, and of course our friends and other volunteers being hosted by them. Sometimes it comes with silliness, Music, sometimes a DJ and dancing. If you know this sort of thing is not for you, maybe our home is not for you.

    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 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 our garden. Likewise if you are enjoying the river, or our 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 and swimming is in our river/lake. There is a simple solar shower, but you will need to collect and carry your own water for it. 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
    Farmstay
    Other
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Animal care
    Language practice
    Art project

  • 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.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English and Quinta Portuguese...the more practice the better.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Accommodation we offer is in a communal, underground Geodesic Dome or camping. Please bring your own tent if you have one.
    We do have some tents/hammocks/mattresses/bedding and mosquito nets that can be used..... but numbers are limited.
    (lost to the forest fire)
    Please just let us know in advance what you need. we like to accommodate.
    If you prefer sleeping in privacy we recommend bringing your own tent.

  • 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.



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

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



    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 sameice to ours. it is about 3 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 Sameice, 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 20km 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 in local towns, each about a 40 min walk away.


    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 also have a projector for movie nights, so any shareable films/music is always welcome (we don't get out much!)

    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 two dogs who will gladly keep you company on walks and explorations in the local area.

    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

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    12

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Host ref number: 574159519394