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Gouveia
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 14
Persons: 3
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 60403
Country: Portugal

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Last Updated: June 12, 2018

Help needed shepherding goats, cheese making and gardening.

Nestled in a shallow valley over one thousand meters up on the top of the Serra De Estrella mountains is our isolated farm. We keep a number of different animals, mainly goats which need walking on a daily basis. There are lots of tasks we need help with to bring this farm back to working capacity.

We are a small family of four, me Emily 34, Sam 34, Joe 42 and recently arrived Connie, only 3 months old. Almost three years ago we brought one of the abandoned "casais de Folgosinho", featured in the documentary "Ainda Ha Pastores". We feel a strong responsibility to bring this place back to life and to show it the respect it deserves.

Me (Emily) and Sam spent 3 years travelling and volunteering here in Portugal before moving here. During our travels we have learnt a bit about permaculture principles, wild food and organic farming. In our previous lives, Sam was a sheet metal worker, Joe a librarian/researcher and me a digital designer. We want to use all our previous experience to work towards a sustainable future for us and this beautiful place we are blessed to be living.

This is a very special time for us as we are just starting to have a impact here (our third year), although people have lived here for over 300 years. We would want them to be able to see that we are caring for this place as they did. We welcome anyone willing to share their time and knowledge with us here, to create something beautiful.

We had some amazing volunteers the last two summers and achieved a lot, we're very thankful for all the help.

We are looking for people interested in living with us, simply and as sustainably as possible.

We need help shepherding the goats, gardening, building, clearing, cooking, cheese making, occasionally watching Connie and day to day stuff.

We have 20 goats, that need shepherding every day. Also 3 cats, 2 dogs and 2 chickens.

Opening the very old irrigation channels, an ongoing job that requires lots of clearing and digging, however very satisfying seeing the water flow along the land.

Gardening and transplanting trees.

We are rebuilding the various ruins.

We want to reforest a large area with native trees.

Volunteering Hours - 25 hours a week - Approx 5 hours per day. Also help is required with daily tasks that are necessary to live here, for example picking vegetables, cooking and washing up.

Our routine is dictated by the season and our animals.

Goats need milking and shepherding twice a day for 2 hours, early in the morning and late in the evening. We take care of the goats on a rota, so it isn't the same person every day.

Watering seedlings and the garden also happens in the morning and evening.

On your free days food will be provided, if you are here. We do visit the local river beach when it is too hot, local towns, villages and can take you sightseeing, to our friends farms and parties.

Ideally minimum stay of 2 weeks, as it takes time to get to know the place, and the animals. Long term volunteers very welcome, provided we work well together.


Accommodation
We have a caravan that can sleep a single person, a couple or two close friends. Very basic! But the most beautiful view of the highest mountain in Portugal just outside the door. Or you can bring your own tent or camper.

Our facilities are also very basic, temporary compost toilet (a bucket), no mains electric or water, (we have a solar system and water from springs and the stream).

We do have some internet and you can charge your phone etc.

Also as we are pretty high up, it gets cold at night. It can also be very hot in the day, but be prepared this is on top of a mountain so it's not the super hot climate that most people think that Portugal has. We can have a fair amount of snow in the winter.

Please bring suitable clothing and a sleepingbag, as it can be very hot in the day and cold at night, even in the summer.

Please bring waterproof foot-ware, as even in the summer the grass is very wet in the morning up here, and we have a lot of water around.

Food
We provide three meals a day, we eat a normal diet. We use seasonally available fruit and veg.

We make our own sourdough bread, cheeses, yoghurt and meat products your welcome to see or help with this while your here.

Breakfast with tea or coffee. If you need additional tea or coffee please provide this for yourself.

There is a cooked meal for both lunch and dinner. Help with picking salad and preparing meals is appreciated.

We can cater for vegetarians as we rarely eat meat. We do eat milk, cheese, eggs and (goat meat occasionally) as we keep chickens and goats. If you are vegan you may need to supplement your food, as we cannot cook extra meals.

You can enjoy being alone with the mountains up here, beautiful views, walks and nature. it is very quiet. It takes a 40min drive to get to any towns. The nearest villages are 6km away, and are very old beautiful villages. We visit a local town around once a week, and occasional local events, you are welcome to accompany us. There is paragliding off the edge of the mountain near us, in the summer months.

We can collect you from a nearest town, but nowhere is near to us here, so please communicate well about your arrival.


Help us bring life back to this special place on top of the world. Learn new skills and techniques by helping here, and we hope to also learn new things from those who come. Learn a bit about making dairy products and baking. Enjoy the amazing view of the highest mountain here in Portugal. Walk for hours without seeing another person or any evidence of man.

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