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help exchange   Host 21604
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 2
Persons: 1 or Couple
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 21604
Country: Portugal

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Last Updated: March 15, 2018


Our names are Steve & Frances and we live in a small south facing Quinta or Farm in the heart of Portugal near the beautiful Sierra de Estrella mountains, which provide us with our breathtaking views. We travelled Europe in a camper van for 4 years doing volunteer work, before finally settling down here in Portugal. We decided to make our own piece of paradise and put into action all the things we learnt on our travels, to try and give something back to Mother Nature. We have only just started on our journey here and currently we have very limited facilities, but are working hard to improve them. We need the assistance of some energetic pioneer helpers who don't mind a little rough living for a short while. We aspire to Permaculture principles and design in all the things that we do, and would love to teach and learn at the same time, as we set about putting our ideas and designs into action.

We love to socialise and after the days work is done, enjoy a good beer or a nice glass of wine and some friendly conversation, relaxing and reminding ourselves how lucky we are to be where we are. We also have a great social network of other like minded people around us, where there seems to always be some for of gathering or party happening, usually with music and plenty of laughter, helping us to remember that life should not be all work and no play.

To help the play along, we brew our own beers and produce our own wine, along with a splash of distilled Agua Dente (spirit) to keep us warm in the winter months.

We have started the process of creating a vegetable garden to help feed ourselves and move us to a more self sufficient lifestyle, including the construction of 12 metre poly-tunnel for winter food production. We are in the process of land clearing trying to find the Olive trees and Vineyard that was previously here and undertaking the restoration of a granite stone cottage ruin. We are using both traditional as well as modern techniques and materials to give us the best sustainable solutions that we can (Appropriate Technology). The only livestock we currently have are some rare breed chickens, both for egg production and meat, but we will be looking in the future for some goats and pigs, to help us clear and restore the fertility of the terrain. There may also be an opportunity to mix and assist with a small herd of horses and ponies, that are sharing our land.

As we said, we are currently looking for real pioneer helpers who can survive with basic facilities to assist with the planting and upkeep of this years harvest and maintenance of the neglected vineyard and olive grove. We will need help with daily tasks such as feeding the livestock and tending and watering of the plants.

Our current project list for 2018 is :-

Pointing of outside granite stonework using a hemp and lime mortar.
Installation of copper guttering and downpipes.
Finishing off the planting area around the new water tank (Swimming Pool) and ponds.
Removal of old patio, ready for installation of a rainwater tank and new outside patio area.
Cleaning of stone annex in readiness for the lime pointing and installation of the floor.
Installation of new triple glazed window.

Additional and ongoing daily items to be performed.

Design, implementation and extension of the current vegetable garden.
Land clearing around the immediate house area.
General gardening duties, including raising seeds, planting and weeding.
Daily cooking, washing and cleaning chores.

We can provide a two person tent or you can bring your own camper van or accommodation with you.

We are fully off grid, but do have a solar set-up where you can charge a mobile phone or laptop and you will have access to a good wireless internet connection.

A brand new toilet and shower room is now available with running hot water, thanks to the new solar hotwater system.

We are within walking distance (15min) to a the town of Fornos De Algodres which has many facilities including a bakery, many friendly cafés and a host of food and general stores. There are two bi-weekly markets, one a Craft market for your small gifts and trinkets and the other a general market where you can enjoy browsing the local produce, including the renowned Sierra de Estrella cheeses and the famous local sausages. Then sit down and relax with the Portuguese speciality of BBQ chicken and chips, helped down with a nice glass of red wine.

In the summer months, with every local village having their own Festas, that provide traditional dancing, fun and music for you to enjoy, we are never far away from a Festa. In fact you can guarantee almost every weekend there will be a local Festa for you to visit.

A public swimming pool in the town is also available during the summer months, or maybe walk down to our local river beach on the Mondego, for a real refreshing swim instead.

Getting to us is easy as the town is served by both rail and bus connections and we are close enough to the A25.

The valley we live in, is a beautiful tranquil piece of paradise with many ancient stones and areas of interest surrounding us. We have the famous castle at Linhares nearby and it can be seen from our home. Come and join us for a wonderful time....

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