Share our off grid, low impact lifestyle among the cork oaks near historic Monsanto, central Portugal

Country

Portugal

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    Last activity

    03/12/2021

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  • Description

    Description

    We are John and Stef. Eight years ago, we 'retired' early from rural development work in southern Africa to 4 hectares of overgrown scrub in central Portugal which we are gradually converting to natural woodland dominated by cork oak and other native hardwood species. Our dwelling is a good sized off grid traditional stone house which we share with our two dogs and a cat. We have our own wifi hotspot – Internet is not super quick but its OK. We do not have TV.

    We try to live comfortably but with minimum environmental impact, as a constructive part of the local eco system. We provide our own power (solar), water (borehole) and heating (wood from the site) as well as growing a good chunk of our own fruit and vegetables. We use mainly hand tools and minimise use of fossil fuels but use power tools when they can be solar powered. We are not experienced farmers or builders but we enjoy being close to the land and we love continually learning from whatever source.

    When it comes to managing and developing 4 hectares of bush/woodland, we let nature do most of the work. Nevertheless, it is more than enough for our aging limbs and we welcome visitors to share both the lifestyle and the work.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    Gardening
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    General Maintenance

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We are part of a small informal community of off gridders in the area, encompassing different age brackets, walks of life and geographical origins. Part of the fun is in socialising with people of different backgrounds, another part is exchanging ideas and experiences about our daily challenges – such as getting laundry clean at low temps, getting the most out of firewood, not overstretching the solar power system, climate-smart kitchen gardening etc.

    For people interested in low impact lifestyles, we can offer an introduction to both the mindset changes and practical challenges involved. For those already well down that road, we look forward to working together and learning from each other.

    Languages: our mother tongues are English and German respectively, and between us, we also communicate to varying levels of prettiness ;-) - in French, Portuguese and Spanish. The local villagers are very welcoming and friendly but most only speak Portuguese.

  • Help

    Help

    Help required will vary with the season and with the skills and wishes of the travellers. Aside from the sharing of normal household tasks, work possibilities are:

    *️️️️️️️ Grape harvest and wine making (September)
    *️️️️️️️ Olive harvest (November)
    *️️️️️️️ Hay harvest (Summer)
    *️️️️️️️ Site clearance/landscaping – much of the land is still overgrown and we are gradually clearing the bush to give more open space to indigenous trees and to minimise the risk of summer wildfires (Autumn/winter).
    *️️️️️️️ Firewood gathering and cutting (various stages year round)
    *️️️️️️️ Converting vegetable beds into trench beds (involves much digging)
    *️️️️️️️ Pointing of the stone house
    *️️️️️️️ Building dry stone walls

  • Languages spoken

    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Spanish: Intermediate
    Portuguese: Intermediate

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Accommodation is your own rustic stone bedroom (2 single beds) and shared bathroom with sawdust composting toilet. We also have a family size tent available or space for camper van if preferred.

    Our food is largely but not exclusively vegetarian, with a strong emphasis on home grown or local (Mediterranean) foodstuffs. We welcome lively culture & skill exchanges in the kitchen.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We are in a scenic, sparsely populated region that looks a bit like a cross between Tuscany and Ireland. So nature and history lovers will be more in their element than party animals.

    Apart from hiking or cycling, or chilling in the peace and quiet, the following attractions are only a few kilometres away:

    *️️️️️️️ The wonderful 'Inselberg' village of Monsanto: granite boulders and panoramic views galore, as well as some restaurants, cafes and bars.
    *️️️️️️️ The UNESCO World Heritage site at Penha Garcia (fossils, museum mill, rock swimming pool)
    *️️️️️️️ The old Roman village of Idanha a Velha

    For day outings to these, we are happy to play taxi/tourguide, but for nights out, you'll have to find like-minded neighbours for lifts or invest in a taxi.

    The municipal centre of Idanha a Nova is 20 km away and the regional centre of Castelo Branco (nearest rail and coach station) is 45 km away. We can usually pickup and drop off at Castelo Branco for travellers who are staying for 2 weeks plus. Travellers wishing to stay for shorter periods should plan to be self sufficient for transport.

    Climate: Summer (July and August) is very hot (can go over 40 C) and dry; winter has occasional night frost with days alternating between chilly & rainy and sunny & mild. Spring and autumn are delightful and we actually love it when it rains for a week.

  • 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

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    Two

  • ...

    Hours expected

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

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Host ref number: 948271897953