I'm Wendy, an escapee from cities - Johannesburg/London. Now developing comfortable retreat space in a lovely fertile fruit-growing valley, in a very old village (possibly Roman, there are wonderful ruins nearby at Conimbriga).
The rustic stone house is about 100 years old but recently refurbished, insulated, modernised to a certain extent. We're very comfortable, now playing with creative aspects like meditation and eating areas, a yoga hall, space to play. Works are based on natural materials using Permaculture design, and focussed on Sustainability.
Surrounded by farm land, there are garden/flower beds, trees and orchards, and a large horta/vegetable growing space. We are slowly converting the land around the barn into a permaculture food forest, and this year may start production of organic grains in one field.
Besides gardens and fields for the ponies, there is a beautiful old stone barn, storerooms and wells, and an orginal tiny donkey-shoe-ing blacksmiths building, (where burros/donkeys were shoe-ed in past times), still to be refurbished - reroofed with timber and old-fashioned tile, straw-bale walls, earth floor and decking/pergolas/stone paths etc.
I live on my own most of the time but host a lot of visitors, community events, and yoga/dance/meditatin classes on the property.
I want to share in the process of creating a Permaculture demonstration site so I can learn from you, and you can learn what we've done and are trying to do, here. There is a mixup of interesting work including planting, creating art and mosaic, and creative natural-building work. The house has a lot of craft aspects to be completed - I welcome crafters, artists, carpenters and painters, but we are also developing the land to be self-sustaining, working with organic and permaculture principles, so there is space for gardeners and designers too.
And we need to be comfortable, so there is heavy carpentry - like ceilings and rooves and furniture, and other major building work.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
My main life work is helping others become more sustainable in their career and lifestyle - I have academic background and years of research and activism in this field. Our future depends on us all learning to live closely and kindly in community and with Nature, so I support the development of True community, working with Transition group structures, hosting community building events, food and good swaps and parties/events bringing people together.
I've been living in intentional communities, yoga ashrams, as a volunteer, and in shared housing, doing positive work for society and for the planet, for a long time. I like to share what have I learned, and to create opportunities for others to develop, and find their own Path in the Work that we all need to do. I can offer support and guidance, and tools for people transforming their lives to more sustainable pathways.
I am a yoga therapist and meditation teacher for 15 years, and offer community Yoga classes in the area which visitors are welcome to join.
My community here is mostly focussed on living closely and sustainably with Nature, we have a lot of events and Workawayers are welcome to attend any while they are visiting, I am part of a Transition group, a large Food/Goods Swap, a potluck dinner group, and ongoing community yoga and meditation groups. I am linked to reforestation and rewilding groups, as well as yoga and meditation retreats locally and can help Workawayers get connected.
The property is fairly central and I get a fair number of visitors. I am learning Portuguese and participate in a lot of local events with neighbours and new friends. During the summer, there are local village festivals every single weekend, and more occasionally in colder months, and we have loads of Nature beauty spots, and some great historical sites, within minutes of the house.
I offer an opportunity to spend time living gently, close to Nature, in rural central Portugal, eating healthy and well, working a bit, playing and socialising a lot, and resting up.
The land is a beautiful piece of rural nature, birds and sunshine and good water from wells, the ouse is really comfortable, and there is most of the modern facilities in place. I am converting some systems, in order to be more sustainable, and focussing on growing a lot more food this year, as well as some major craft/creative projects so if you want to learn, and participate in planing, now is a great time to participate here.
The house has ongoing work needed with lime mortars and plasters, painting with natural earth and plant pigments, furniture and floors from recycled materials and tiles, and local wood. The bathrooms, bedrooms and the kitchen are fully functional, but we are mosaic-ing a shower stall, building wooden shelving and seating areas, plus electrics, painting and plaster to be completed.
The focus this winter/spring is a large yoga sala/hall with a beautiful modern masonry heater fitted during a workshop last year, which now needs a ceiling, a floor covering, and the oven itself is asking for a clay/cob dragon or similar sculpture along one side... these walls are being replastered quite thickly with lime so if you want to practise, we have a place for you!
The floor in much of the house and some large wall scale mosaics will be completed with old recycled tiles, projects which are currently unfinshed so that might interest you. For summer, the outdoor areas need some paths and paving areas from recycled brick and stones, as well as a very large wooden deck for outdoor yoga, and a new pergola with vines, and eating space with furniture.
Specifically in case you are an artist, I'm keen to cover most of the back of the house with mosaic which I do, but the front might look fantastic with some clever, suitable grafiti art - *maybe etching in the style of vhils, and if I can find a talented sculptor, I would love a Bordalo style “junk” sculpture on the large triangular end of the house that is very visible...
For gardeners and permaculture designers, the garden is in early development, and needs constant maintenance, as well as development within a standard permacultyre zone design, there is an organic vegetable garden and food forest, a tree nursery (oak and chestnut) for reforestation projects, and small woodland on this land. We are starting a herb spiral,
there are vegetables and fruit trees to seed, plant and harvest, and planted areas for meditation/yoga practise/entertainment/eating/rest to be further developed.
Olive orchard requires maintenance especially during late autumn (November) when we will harvest here, and assist neighbours who have too many trees to do themselves. We are entirely self-sufficient in 100% pure virgin olive oil from our own trees.
There are stone structures - water tanks, a love seat/bench with rose garden, a large patio eating area, raised flower beds, herb garden – requiring stone or recycled brick work or possibly dry stone if someone has the skills.
There is a grey water drainage system needing a proper filtration system, planting and perhaps a duckpond later.
There is a large barn which needs floors , electrics and plumbing for a summer kitchen area, and a new roof. We're hoping to do that this year, with roundwood and old tiles. While I have local builders and workers who will assist, Workawayers with skills would be very welcome to help.
Plus there are 100s of other projects possible for the right Workawayers and artists.
The house is simple and rustic, but extremely comfortable with most modern comforts, grid connections for water and electricity and broadband internet. The land is very beautiful, full of birds and small wildlife including a neighbours 6 pet shetland minature ponies who have responsibility for mowing a large section of the field around the house...
There are 2 guest bedrooms in the house, a comfortable double, and a quiet, private and beautiful single. Workawayers have their own shower room and toilet, so comfortable accomodation either for one couple, and one single, or for two singles at the same time.
I live in the house too, but have separate accomodation.
The house and land are not suitable for young children. (no fence around the property, wells are currently not safe although I hope to fix them early in 2020)
There is a fully functional kitchen with all facilities, fridge, stove etc.
For winter there are two heating woodstoves. The house is well insulated.
For summer there is a lot of comfortable outdoor space for camping amoung olive trees or in the orchard if you prefer to sleep outdoors.
I provide most home comforts - bedding, blankets and towels, and things like a hairdryer if needed. Let me know if you need anything else.
I cook a large breakfast most mornings, and provide a light lunch and full dinner, and prefer to share cooking/food prep responsibilities with visitors. I provide large quantities of vegetarian food, organic and locally produced where possible, and fruit. I don’t cater for food sensitivities and special diets – but you are welcome to bring your own, there is storage space.
I prefer not to have meat or fish in the kitchen, but can be slightly flexible about this, let me know if its an issue.
The entire property is non-smoking, and if you smoke tobacco or weed, or feel you need drugs and/or alcohol to relax, this is not the place for you.
I personally don't drink much but visitors are welcome to have reasonable amounts of wine/beer - Portuguese wine is excellent and well priced :-)
There is good internet, and space to rest, do yoga,make music or dance, the valley is an ancient farming area, still full of fruit orchards, olive trees and vineyards (we have our own wine label within this community) and oak groves - so plenty of lovely space to walk or run or take photographs.
There are river beaches and large rivers/dams nearby for swimming although not walking distance. There is an outside shower and maybe a swimming tank next year.
We are between the ancient city of Coimbra/Conimbriga, and the Knight's Templar home Tomar. A lot to see and explore, in nature, and history.
There are two cafes in walking distance, and I am happy to provide transport on a shared tourist/sightseeing/nature trip once a week.
The neighbours are really friendly and there are often events nearby or that I am involved in, at the house and elsewhere - food swaps, cultural events, dinners and other community meals, yoga classes, guided walks, and traditional festivals.
For getting further away, there is taxi service, a local on-demand bus to either a local town, or even to Lisbon or Porto, both of which are 1.5 hours away by train from a nearby station.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
I have good internet, and reliable electricity (on grid) and comfortable seating/desks
Workawayers could park up next to the house, have access to a full bathroom inside (close to the parking space) and grid electricity and water.
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week