A writer, I moved from a sedentary life in England to a farming one in Portugal with my son. I bought a granite ruin, which had lost its roof and one wall, and 1.6 hectares of terraced land. There are olive trees, grapevines, fruit trees, and a small vegetable garden. My house has been rebuilt into a spacious living space, which I am happy to share with you. Working on the land has been a humbling and rewarding experience.
I would love to have another pair or two of hands. Being in good physical condition is essential.
In August, I pick plums of several varieties, nectarines, cherry tomatoes and other fruit. Also, I pull up or hoe out weeds, and pick up unripe apples that have dropped from the trees. Watering the vegetables and young grapevines and fruit trees takes three hours each day.
In September, I pick the grapes. And, in October/November, I am harvesting the olives. The latter two activities are good ways to learn about pruning vines, making wine, and how to cut back olive trees.
There are also handyperson jobs on the land and in the house.
In my time here, I have learned a tremendous amount. I am happy to teach you and learn from you.
I love to eat and cook. I eat a varied menu depending on what I find in the garden and at the shops. I can accommodate dietary restrictions.
I have lived in Sicily, Sweden, Santa Cruz in California, and many places in Britain. In my 20s and 30s, I have lived in Cairo, Khartoum, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, and all over the United States. I am a New Yorker, whose parents emigrated from Belize in Central America.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Harvesting fruit, olives, or grapes, depending on the time of year, weeding, watering in summer, and handyperson jobs, which have, in the past, included making olive fly traps and reusing the old house beams in garden projects
Bedroom on the middle floor with a Juliet balcony and a shared bathroom
I live on the edge of a warm and welcoming village, Fiais da Beira. There are two historic sites: a dolmen, which is a prehistoric burial site, and the Palheiras, or dozens of stone structures on a granite mastiff, which some say is the old village and others the granary.
There is also a café and an active social organization, which sponsors the annual festas.
However, my village is quiet in its beauty. My home has a view of the Caramulo mountains and terraces from which they can be seen while eating, reading and relaxing.
I like to explore the area, so I keep my ears to the ground about medieval fairs, salt harvesting and other activities. Portugal has much to offer, but Portugal is personal. Information is passed by word of mouth, not on the Internet or in travel guides. I, usually, travel by car. I take pleasure in sharing sights with visitors. One of the joys of the area is discovering hidden gems such as secluded bathing spots on the Mondego River.
There are no buses stopping in Fiais da Beira. Three kilometres away, the village of Ervedal has a few cafes and eating places.
The nearest train station is at Nelas, which is about 3 hours from Lisbon. The Lisbon train station, Oriente, is easily accessible from the airport by the Metro underground or by taxi. I am happy to pick you up at Nelas.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
4-5 hours weekdays