Help our family with a forest garden project in Central Portugal



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  • Description


    Travelling family looking for help with a new, Forest Garden project :

    After 30 years of travelling under sail, we've decided that it's time to put down some roots. Tree roots. The world needs more trees - and we, meanwhile, need a place where we can grow our own food. So we've moored the family on a mountainside in Portugal, and we're planting an area of native forest on one hillside, and on the adjacent abandoned terraces we're planting a mixed orchard (fruit trees, nut trees, berry-bearing shrubs, etc). We've also started growing our own veg, and we have some chickens.

    Setting up a place like this is a lot of work for just one young man and his aging parents, so we're looking for help.
    We're looking for people who would like to put trees in the ground; help with the irrigation; do some weeding; operate the strimmer, from time to time, to keep the brambles at bay - and so forth. We're also hoping for some companionship and conversation.

    We are all vegetarian and all non-smokers.
    Our first language is English, but we can also get by in Portuguese, Spanish, and French.
    - Mum is an artist and a Buddhist, but currently without the time to practice either. She has plans to build meditation cells in the woods some day, along with a studio, an outdoor lounge with a fire-pit, and all sorts of other good things - WHEN we have the time...
    - Dad is a mechanic. He likes digging ponds and watering the trees.
    - Son (aged 30) is proficient with electronics and computing but nowadays spends most of his time building stone walls, pruning trees, or installing irrigation pipes. He is the MD of the project.
    We all enjoy hiking, when we have the time.
    And we like sailing.........................

    The adventure on offer would suit someone fit. This hillside is very steep!
    A lover of wildlife would be very happy here. The entire valley below the cottage has been abandoned for decades. Absolutely nobody ever goes there apart from us, and even we have only had time to explore a tenth part. As a result, it is home to many species of woodland bird and also to all sorts of mammals and reptiles and amphibians. In effect, it's a hundred-hectare wildlife reserve.
    Buzzards, eagles, and ravens sail over us as we work. Lizards scamper along the walls; snakes slip away through the grass. Newts, frogs and toads have set up home in our pond. Salamanders emerge from the gutters at night when it rains. Foxes, mongooses, fallow deer, and jabali (wild boar) visit our land far more often than we would wish; and there are also genets and stoats (or possibly pine martin) on the lower terraces. In the places where we almost never go, there are red deer. We're told that there used to be wolves, here. Maybe there still are!

    Ideally, we would eventually like to find someone - an individual or a couple, perhaps - who can be trusted to look after this place while we take a break and go sailing. This would entail feeding the chickens, cuddling the cat, and - most important of all - watering the baby trees if the rain fails to fall while we are away.
    In return, you get to live in our rustic cottage with its amazing view (and no bathroom) and its opportunities for rambling, painting, and just chilling.

    There is also the possibility of some adventures under sail, for the right person - because now that the youngest member of the family has left home to do her own thing, we have a spare cabin.
    The boat is currently in the Pacific and is ready to carry us to wherever we whim. Fiji? Australia? Chile? Canada? Perhaps we'll discover another 'paradise', somewhere, and put down some more tree roots!

    If any of this appeals - if you'd like to plant trees, or look after the place for a few weeks, or come sailing - please drop us a line and tell us all about yourself.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Since our home is in a small, friendly village, visitors have the chance to get to know the traditional Portuguese way of life, and they also have the opportunity to learn Portuguese at the daily get-togethers. Volunteering also presents a useful learning opportunity for those who are considering similar projects (ie. growing our own food; the restoration of abandoned land for the creation of a 'Food Forest'; the planting of a forest of native trees on a steep hillside).

  • Help


    We're looking for people who would like to put trees in the ground; help with the irrigation; do some weeding; operate the strimmer, from time to time, to keep the brambles at bay - and so forth. We're also hoping for some companionship and conversation. Extra points if you like to cook and can share in that chore!

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    Portuguese: Intermediate
    French: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    Our home is a tiny hovel, but we can offer accomodation in a nearby house. Both our cottage and the house are very basic, with only cold water and composting toilets. The house has a shower with a gas water-heater. (In the cottage, we still have to use a tub in front of the wood-buring stove.) Camping in the woods is also an option for those who are not afraid of the wild boar.

    Food and wine will be provided, of course.

  • 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

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    Dogs are welcome ONLY if they can be guaranteed not to chase free range cats and chickens or to fight with the resident dogs.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 617855357937