Thanks for your interest.
We are Ken and Frank and bought this 2ha/5acre smallholding in 2003. It is located in the the Serra de Monchique, a conservation area with a huge variety of native flaura and fauna and no light pollution to spoil the night sky. It had been an organic fruit farm. We follow organic principles and our aim is self-sufficiency and not sales. We are still part-timers in Portugal and spend about 6 months of the year in the UK.
We grow a wide variety of fruit and vegetables and have a few free range chickens for eggs.In 2015 we reared our first chicks and had 3 spare roosters! They were noisy fighting and surplus to our needs so we steeled our hearts and they became Sunday dinners!
In our original lives, I (Ken) did a biology degree, some research, then medicine. I practised as a Dr for over 30 years (GP) but have endless, often useless, biology facts or information spewing from my mouth! Frank has a very eclectic background from taylor, massage therapist, IT manager to accounts!! He would have done horticulture at 16 but parental opinion was that he should go to university!
We are a gay couple, together for over 25 years and believe that we can't be the only gays prepared to wield chain-saws and strimmers and get our hands dirty in the green gym! On the other hand we should be members of the Womens Institute with our jams, preserves, marmelades, chutneys, cordials and wines!
Help in the house
Volunteers will always benefit from a cultural exchange if they travel with a receptive and open attitude! We enjoy meals together along with discussion, sharing views and hopefully lots of laughter.
We teach all sorts of things and hopefully learn from our volunteers too. We like to share our recipes and learn others. People with little experience in the kitchen we are happy to teach, along with making all kinds of preserves (jams, chutneys, bottling, juices) of whatever is in season.
On the land we teach our methods of keeping an organic smallholding. We teach about the way all the different crop plants grow and produce. People can learn from our successes as well as from our failures. We teach practical skills as with small building projects and water management.
We are both knowledgable about nature and love to share what we see and know.
The list of life skills is almost endless.
In return we hope that volunteers to share their experiences and knowledge with us.
We are looking for a wide variety of help from flexible and fun loving volunteers who show some initiative and can get things done. Tasks are physically demanding and include hill side clearing, weeding, digging, compost spreading, planting, harvesting, wine and cider making, preserving, pond building, building paths and steps, dry stone walling, help with the chickens, fencing etc. After 20 years of running allotments and gardens and now 14 years of running a small holding, we have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share.
After our experience In 2016, we realised the need to be more specific about who we will accept.
We are looking for volunteers with enthusiasm for what we do, who have the capacity to work unsupervised and have respect for others. One smoker left a smouldering ash tray on a very hot, windy day, with very little thought about the possible consequences!
Think twice about applying to come here if you are really not interested in learning about growing plants organically and sustainably. We prefer over 25s, non-smokers. We do not want volunteers who need to be constantly "online" to sustain their life! Also think twice if you will avoid working hard if you think you're not observed, and if you need constant reminders to wash up or wipe dirty surfaces! If you really are "house trained" it's a help! That means knowing that kitchen knives are ruined if used to open jars or tins; vacuuming is required under and behind furniture, not just in front and around; shower trays and glass actually need cleaning! We expect that cooking and cleaning of dishes is shared with everyone living in the house at any given time.
Workawayers will have their own room in our house with either a double bed or a very comfortable sofa bed and share a bathroom with other guests or workawayers.
Monchique is a small town in the mountains approximately 25km inland from the Algarve coast. There is an indoor and in summer an outdoor swimming pool (free), several pubs and bars and often local festivals with live music.
The house is a 15 minute drive from Monchique and 2km off road. There is a bus service to Monchique from the main road. During the summer months we regularly drive to the coast for shopping or just to enjoy the naturist beaches and would always offer to take volunteers with us.
We try to work co-operatively with our neighbours - one of them is also a host on this site: Monique from 'Terra do Milho'. Some young people have found us too remote and isolated! We are non-smokers and only non-smokers should apply.
In some spots on the land 3G/4G and mobile phone signal is strong enough to hold a conversation. Text messages can usually be sent and received in the house or on the terrace.
We do have satellite broadband since 2014 with a limited monthly allowance. Because of the experience of exceeding this allowance once which led to weeks of extremely slow download speeds, the houserule is that we do NOT allow the downloading of films, use of You Tube etc. and Skype with video. E-mail and general browsing as well as skype conversations without video are not a problem, but will only be possible for a set amount of time in the evenings.
There are also several bars and cafes in Monchique with free WIFI.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
5 hours per day/5days
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