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So, in the middle of nowhere, there is this tiny island, that got it's first traffic light this year (2023), where the Supermarket shelves are notoriously empty, and where cagarros scream around all night. In the very western part of this weird romanticism lies our project, surrounded by woods live 4 chickens, 3 ducks and 2 humans. What we are looking for? People who can carry their own weight. What we are NOT looking for? Vegans, Shanti Rainbow People, Flatearthers (sorry!) And here the long version for the interested ones: Since 2020 we are bit by bit transforming an abandoned piece of agricultural land, that was and partially still is overgrown by invasive species, into a space full of food and life, regenerative and away from the meaningless hustle of modern society. We produce a lot of food, have a big organic vegetable garden, have animals for meat, and are planting a fruit forest. We are on a journey towards self sufficiency and are making a lot of products of daily consumption ourselves. It is a beautiful space to be creative, explore new techniques and go back to wild living: waking up early, working with the soil, cooking on fire, eating well and living in nature. The island itselfe doesn't look like it on the first glimpse, but it is kind of an extreme place that makes self sufficiency a very important topic. Most part of the food has to be important by a boat that comes every two weeks and which is very dependet on the weather. It happens often that the boat gets delayed by storms, and the supermarkets are literally empty, a lot of food is lacking and when the boat then finally arrives all of the fresh produce it was carrying is already moldy. In summer, when the island gets suddenly very full due to the tourism, the boat, even if full and on time, does not carry enough fresh food for everybody.
We live a life close to nature and respect our surroundings. Our chickens all have names and with some we already live multiple years together, we know their character, their favorite food and their habits, but we still eat them. Might sound cruel for some, for us it is a way of living and respecting the beings that nourishes us. We aim to just live and enjoy life, going for a drink at sunset and having a lot of long dinners with friends, but waking up early the next morning is crucial, because especially in summer a lot of tasks in the garden have to be done in the morning, before the sun has set over the plants. . We are also both very interested in culture and arts, may it be sculptering, painting, drawing, literature.. and we have a big heart for weird cinema..
Types of help and learning opportunitiesHelp with Eco ProjectsGardeningDIY and building projectsHelp around the houseGeneral Maintenance
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
If you want to experience off-grid life away from society's norms, thats your chance. We are happy to share the knowledge we gathered about permaculture, wild living and everything thats connected to it. A big part of our lives runs around cooking, we love to explore traditional recipes from all around the world, combine new ingredients and ways of cooking. You will for sure get also a good taste of Portugal at our place! If you like cooking feel free to share your favourite foods or maybe even a traditional recipe from your country or a place you've been to! We are collecting all kinds of weird, unusual and traditional plants in the garden, so if you would like to bring or exchange fruit or seeds to plant, we would be happy to have a part of you in our garden. We also produce a lot of things: pickles, fermented foods, vinegars, kombucha, smoked fish, smoked pickled fish, sauerkraut, hot sauces, jams, we bake sourdough bread and make a lot of pizza and like to make fresh pasta with the eggs of our chickens, we plant our own popcorn and roast peanuts and pumpkin seeds for snacks and in 2023 I would like to get more into canning and to make my own healthy fast food for the busy days.. So if you would like to explore more about food processing, we can help!
Also the Azores in generel are a very particular place, its a very interesting history and culture to dive into. Even though we are not from the Islands, we can tell you more about the history and help you to explore the culture of this beautiful place. We would also be happy to learn about your culture, language and knowledge - Every person has something to teach and every person has space to expand knowledge, so lets get smarter together!
There is always a lot to do, depending on your preferences. In general everthing runs around the garden. The help consists of seed sowing according to the moon, weeding, preparing the spaces, making structures for climping plants, pick slugs and caterpillars off the plants at night, watering the plants (takes about 1 hour every morning) , harvesting, pruning plants, digging, carrying compost around, mulching, clearing the land.. In summer there is a lot of preserving to be done: fermenting, pickling, drying, smoking, processing, also seed saving and organising, the list is endless.. On rainy days we also help on a catalog of the plants of the garden and would like to start an online platform of our project..
There are also some building projects, like building climbing structures for beans, cucumbers ect and support structures for tomatos, peppers, ect.. also things like building houses for small animals like chickens is actually a very fun thing to do. We try to use as much as recycled and natural material as possible.
A very big part of the land is also still overgrown with invasive species that grew into a dense forest, in which there is not a lot of diversity and in which the native trees have difficulties to compete, so we're clearing this part bit by bit, organise the wood for later use (cooking, heating, building of gardening structures, making bonfires) and plant fruit trees, also tropical ones like bananas, avocados, mangos and papayas. The idea is to plant a syntropic agroforest, which also consists of other kinds of plants, landscaping, making paths.. This part of the project is very physical, but it is also a chance to be part of the raw beginning of a big project and it is a nice thing to do in sunny afternoons, as the forest is very shady. There are also a lot of very old natural stone walls around that need maintanance. It is totally okay if you don't have experience in these kinda things, you just need the will to learn and the will to move your body phisically. I also had to learn all of these things not that long ago and started out as volunteer at different places. In 2020 I also came to the Island as Workawayer, before meeting my partner and starting our own project. So I am more than happy to share my knowledge with you, to learn some of your knowledge and the rest we gonna learn together while working on it! And other than doing projects the place is also beautiful to relax and calm down, you get a private bird concert every morning, our rooster happily serves as an alarm clock, having a siesta in a hammoc between the trees of our forest is the best way to digest and at night due to non existent light pollution, you'll be able to observe the milky way
Camping and the wild life - We have a tent for you with camping matresses, pillows ect. We just have one, so it's just suitable for 1 person or a couple. You can of course bring your own tent also. You can charge your phone and there is running water, no usual sanitaries though and no warm water (yet). There will be a compost toilet and peeing in the wild is very relaxing you will see. And we really live in the forest, so be prepared for mud, mice, rats, spiders, bugs (nothing toxic though) and stray cats (which are the worst seriously). It also rains a lot in the Azores (the reason why there are waterfalls at every corner), so be prepared and bring appropriate cloths. About the food: you can of course eat with us, but the food will for sure include meat, fish or seafood, lactose, gluten, carbohydrates and lots of organic veggies from the garden, its an omnivores place and we would not be able to accomodate food allergies/ or habits.. There is also gonna be spring water, Kombucha, coffee and lots of tea from our garden herbs.
Before agreeing on a workaway I would also like to have a (video-) call with you, so you can get more private info about us and you can ask questions, just to be sure you would really get happy at our place.
What else ...
The island is stunning and has a lot to explore, there are a lot of walking trails around and we are a 15 min walk away from the village Fajã Grande, with restaurants, bars and Supermarkets and 25 min walk away from the Ocean, in summer we go swimming almost every day. But the weather is very particular, this is not the Canary Islands, we get a lot of storms and rainfall, so you might want to inform yourself about the weather before you decide to come here. There is no Mcdonalds, starbucks evt around. The Supermarkets are pretty empty as said before, but we always have fresh vegetables, and the meat and fish are mostly local and very good quality, but the place forces you to live with what you have. There are also a lot of social events on the island, both local and by the foreigner community and in summer there are a lot of traditional village parties where you can taste local foods and dance to traditional pimba music, overall be ready to meet a lot of people. There is a bus service on the island, but its sporadic and does not go on weekends.
In the end of October - November we are looking for someone who would like to house sit for two weeks
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
How many Workawayers can stay?
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week