Obviously the whole world is in quarantine right now and travel is not possible as I write this (early April) but as soon as we return to some normality and travel and visitors are possible without risk of spreading the virus, then we will be desperate for volunteers. There is so much work to be done and we are way behind schedule in farm jobs so we will be very happy to host some volunteers as soon as the situation allows :)
We are an Off grid Quinta in Central Portugal between Tabua and Oliveira do Hospital. The Quinta is 2 acres and shared between myself and my adult daughter and her partner. We live like neighbours, each responsible for our own share of the land and as we have different requirements, she has her own workaway page - 519647724974
We have both been workaway volunteers and now we are workaway hosts. We believe our experiences will help to make us good workaway hosts as we know what we liked and disliked from our own experiences. We aim to be fair and to make this an enjoyable experience for both of us.
We are English and came here to get away from the hamster wheel of work, spend, work. We wanted to see if it was possible to live another way ... and there is. We don't have 'jobs' or a regular income but our only bill is for the internet. Our power is solar, our water from our well and hot water is also solar heated. Our sanitation goes to a vermicomposting system (worms eat our waste) and my house runs on 12 volt power and has an eco rocket stove for heating which burns the wood which we have in abundance. We try to grow as much of our food as we can, organically, and follow permaculture principles in that virtually nothing leaves the land, everything is used in some way. All organic waste goes back into the land. Rainwater is caught and stored and we are hoping to make a natural pond soon.
DIY and building projects
Help with Eco Projects
Our Quinta is totally off grid and we live as sustainably and ecologically minded as we can, so that can be an interesting and learning experience. Our land was basically just disused land when we came here in 2016 so everything on it was built or put there by us. Our power is all from solar, our water is from a spring fed stone well, our sanitation goes to a vermicomposting system. We try to grow as much of our own food as we can. Sadly we lost most of our fruit trees so are planting a new orchard at the moment. We grow our food organically and are taking on board permaculture principles in that we try to use everything on the land, so for example all the small branches that need to be cleaned from the felled trees will go to make a hugelkulture bed to grow next years veggies in. A stay with us will be a glimpse into a different way of life from the 9-5, 5 day week working life of work, spend, consume, work again. We live on the edge of a small rural village in Central Portugal so that is also culturally interesting.
I am open to all ages but I prefer 2 people because a lot of jobs are much easier with 2 pairs of hands and also a lot more fun for you if you are working with a partner or friend. As you may know, there was a massive forest wildfire here in October 2017 and sadly our land got burnt out. It has greened up and is looking beautiful again (all the photos are current) and visitors cannot believe there was a fire here, it looks so lovely now - only we know that the grassy meadows used to be woodland that has had to be be felled and one of our jobs is that it needs turning into firewood and larger pieces are going to be used for eco constructions. Other work would be tree pruning, planting out the vegetable plot, taking cuttings and making new plants, landscaping and making a drought resistant garden, pruning fruit and olive trees, planting out a new woodland with a variety of 7 indigenous trees, landscaping and general land maintenance and of course good old digging! There always seems to be some of that! One day per week you will work with my daughter who has her own vegetable gardens to maintain but may also have some different work, maybe eco construction. I would prefer people who have volunteering experience and some kind of personal experience with gardening or working on the land.
Please be considerate.
I have had many volunteers message me (and presumably many other people at the same time) saying 'I really, really, really want to come and volunteer with you' and then after I have taken the time to reply and offer them a place here, I wait and wait and wait but never hear from them again. Whilst waiting I lose opportunities with other volunteers whom I decline and then end up with no-one. So please, I ask you to be respectful. It takes a minute to write a reply.
There is a caravan (photo below) which we have just refurbished and it is now a lovely bedroom and will sleep 1 or 2 cosily, - we have even had 3 friends sleep in there quite happily. Now that the inside is lovely, the next stage will be to make an outside decking veranda with comfy sitting area and kitchen for it with a roof to give shade. It will be truly lovely once finished. Until then my house varanda has a sofa on it and good wifi and charging points so you are welcome to sit on that in the evening.
We also have a 5m diameter pink geo-dome (photo below) which has a proper double bed inside, a large comfy sofa, basic washing facility and a basic gas hob for self catering. A future project will be to make a decking outside with sitting area and proper kitchen.
I live in a proper house which I designed myself, so there is also a luxurious (well I think it is luxurious anyway!!) wet room bathroom with an awesome shower, solar heated so dependent on sun for the heat of the water but even in winter it is usually hot. Daily showers will not be possible in the summer when the water level is low. I am vegetarian, almost vegan, so the evening meal will be a wholesome cooked vegetarian or vegan meal. Breakfast will be self service continental style with freshly brewed coffee and lunch will be wholesome soup or salad or wraps. On free days I will provide breakfast only. Snacks and extras if required, you will need to provide yourself.
Sorry but I do not want smokers :(
We have 2 large dogs but they are super friendly and 4 cats and 2 kittens. I feel we have enough animals here so cannot accommodate people with pets. I don't generally socialise in the evenings which is why I think volunteers in pairs is better. I do have unlimited wifi internet, a hard drive with a huge library of films on if you have a device with a usb port and a memory stick and a kindle with 100's of books on that you are welcome to use.
We are in a beautiful area of Central Portugal, with a view of the Serra do Acor (Mountain range of the Goshawk) and the Serra da Estrela ((Star mountains). It has just been awarded classification by Unesco as a Global Geopark - Geopark Estrela. It covers an area of 2216km2. There is a video which I can send to you via message as the site does not allow web site links on here.There are dozens of river beaches within a short distance and many beautiful walks and drives. The nearest river beach is in Avo which is a 1.8km/15 minute walk from here. There are some lovely villages in the mountains and the Xisto trail is definitely something worth walking. We are an hour drive from the Serra de Estrela mountains and Torre the highest point in mainland Portugal which has snow on it and skiing in late winter/early Spring. I belong to a hiking group and every 2 weeks we go on a day hike, usually to one of the 3 mountain ranges that we are in the middle of. You are welcome to join me.
I will try to make your stay as interesting and enjoyable as possible and would really appreciate your help.
Items that would be helpful for you to bring with you would be a good light as there is no lighting outside on the land (there is solar lighting inside the caravan and dome) and clothes that you do not mind getting dirty as all the work is outside work.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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