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help exchange   Host 18666
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Help Exchange

Arganil Municipality
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 6
Persons: 1 or 2
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 18666
Country: Portugal

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Last Updated: April 23, 2018

UPDATE October 2017 - unfortunately our land and house has been ravaged by the forest fires here in central Portugal.
The house has burnt to a shell and we must begin again the project from the start.
Theres lots to be done and the way forwards is not clear - first stabilise the building and reroof whilst tending to the decimated forest, replant native trees and seeds to rewild the forest while we have a blank canvas.


Hello! We are a young gay couple living & working in the mountains of Central Portugal caretaking a 40 year abandoned farm back into production with a self sufficiency & reforestation project.

I work hard and in tune with Nature in the breathtaking mountains of the Serra do Açor; I work freely to make these fertile lands bountiful again, and bring the forests back to production, making a haven for wildlife.

As the summer heat gives was to Verao do Sao.Martino ( Indian Summer ) its a time of great productivity.

Current focus on the farm-

Getting the veg garden prepared, after the summer harvests, to plant things to eat over winter and into spring.

Preparing the winter firewood.

Collecting stones to build and repair walls, continue work on steps between the house and the carpark. Using the ancient technique of extracting the beautiful xisto slate and building ecologically with just mud and stones.

The goats are organic and walk everyday free-range over the mountains giving them and us health, vitality and exercise in the beautiful Serra do Açor.

Im looking for interesting and reliable, hardworking lads and lassies to help me with the daily tasks and have a chance to experience my simple life in the mountains.

I treat my helpXers as part of the family and your welcome to join me on days off to socialise and engage with my extended family, the local portuguese and the wider foreign community of diggers and dreamers.

Below is my old profile to give you an idea of what was going on previously and a bit more info on facilities and logistics.

Traditional ecological building tecniques using simple organic local materials.

Exchavating a foundation to extend the existing goat shed. Building the walls out of xisto stone, clay and mud and roof of timbers from the forest and reclaimed local tiles

Reforrestation - slowly rewilding the forrest by removing dead wood and removing firewood, clearing areas to replant local species and revert to a more natural biodynamic environment to sustain many more plants and animals than the momoculture pine.

This year I am planting Cedruds Lucitanicus, sycamore, Carrob,Orange, Fejoa, Montery pine, lots of oak varietys, cherry. Plum, ash and chestnut.

Aswell as planting in the ground theres trees to propogate to replant and sell on to.

The veggies are getting ready to plant out, so.e from the pollytunnel some from seed.

The fruit trees and in particular the olives (150 of them) need their anual haircut.

The valley is perfectly peaceful and secluded in the heart of the Setta do Açor Mountains. The quinta has private acess and is 20 minuits ealk to the village where there a cafe and small shop.

Theres a natural pool by the house to cool down from the sun, a natural riverbeach with great swimming 15 mins in the car and the village is locayed on a particularly beautiful possition high above the Rio Ceira facing south. The road is known as AltoCeira Estrada Paneramica.

Living between 3 villages, surrounded by forest and abandoned terraced land in a beautiful valley with bountiful fresh spring water; I feel that this is heaven, the veritable Garden of Eden.

There is a recent interview with me about my life & work with the goats here:

I generally work to the rhythm of Nature - up at first light to get the animals sorted out, and then eat dinner around dusk, and early to bed.

We do of course, ask for a fair work ethic of at least 5hrs per day, 5 days per week, in exchange for accommodation & food.
We do not provide food on any days off.

Of course it's not all about work! We invite all guests on outings, the weekly day off to go to town and the local market, a beer in the local cafe, a trip to the river beach, dinner with friends, a walk in the mountains or borrow my bike and go exploring!

Theres some gymnastics rings set up in a tree, I have a selection of home made bodyweight resistance equipment and a set of bar and dumb bells if you would be missing the gym.

Living totally off-grid means that small sacrifices have to be made. Hot water in the summer months is solar produced & limited; the electricity is also solar powered, and we have to be mindful of not wasting what any of the resources we have.
Internet is via satellite, and can only be used in times of plentiful sun.

The drinking water is cold and chilled straight from the mountain springs and I aim to eat as much home produced food as possible, although we inevitably have to buy in a few staples.
I eat exclusively vegetarian food and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.

The HelpX accommodation is a small and basic caravan (spacious for one, cosy for two!), about 100m up the track from the main house, allowing visitors their own space and privacy.

Along with general HelpX helpers, I am also looking for a suitable like-minded person, or Couple; to work & House-sit for a 1-2 week period and care for the Animals.
This will include Shepherding the Goats daily, taking vare of the Cat; as well as carrying out an agreed work-plan in my absence.

So, if you're a keen, willing, & strapping Lad or Lady, you like what you read and want to know more; please do drop me a line and tell me a bit about you, who you are, what makes you tick and what you feel you can bring to this project.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Michael and João x

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