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Sao Luis
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 6250m2
Persons: variable
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 100285
Country: Portugal

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Last Updated: August 24, 2020

Hi all,

About us:

We are Ties, Shirley and our 2 kids Eliana and Joshua (5 &7).

After a career as scuba diving instructors in Thailand we came to Portugal 3 years ago to reinvent ourselves and find a place where we could grow a garden of Eden for our family and extended tribe. A place where we could build a healthy and sustainable, self reliant life that we could share with others.

Last year we became the caretakers of a wonderful, small property in between cork forests, meadows and farmlands located in a Nature Reserve in the Alentejo province of Portugal.

The property has not been habituated in about 25 years and nature has taken itīs own hand. In a way we have to pioneer and make things work again from scratch.

It is our aim to create a place where we can live in the rhythm of nature while also living in balance with her. A future where we can be mostly self reliable and sustainable really appeals to us and sharing it with others would be the summit.

After this crazy "Corona Episode" the confirmation is more clear than ever to work hard on establishing our "Normal"

- Not with GMO and pesticide ridden food but A normal with organic fruit and veg that we share with neighbours
- Not with laboratory grown burgers but occasional organic meat and healthy free range eggs
- Not with pharmaceuticals and chemicals but herbal and natural remedies, cures and prevention.
- Not with an overdose of social media and online presence but real life face time with people that matter :)

Although the crazy events lately where quite the roller coaster for us all it did make us more determined and centered us onto a path of love rather than fear.

Like mentioned, it is our mission to live as healthy and sustainable as we can but are by no means dogmatic or anything like that. We compost our toilet business but at the same time donīt mind to drive 20 minutes to have icecream on the beach ;)

As we are starting from scratch, at this point we are living in our camper on the property. Signing off in the night time with shooting stars in the sky and hearing the owls hoot in the night time is an experience that makes us sleep with a smile on our face. This is what we where looking for all this time!

Things to do:

The list of things to do on our project is pretty long so we take it one day at a time and try to tick of things here and there while having fun in the meantime :)

By no means are we experts in anything and we are trying to figure most things out by ourselves. We strongly believe in being students and teachers at the same time and welcome anybody whoīd like to come figure things out with us.

The current time is particularly exciting as our life here starts to take shape and we are behind the wheel during the process :)

What kind of help do we REALLY need at this moment?

Help in household:
For many years now we have lived abroad and raised our family without external help.

At this point though with 1001 things to do and not enough hours in the day it would be incredibly wonderfull to have somebody who could take charge of meal prepping & cooking, caring for the kids and general household tasks.
This way we could chip away at our to do list and not have to worry about what to cook for lunch ??

Help in construction:
Winters in our microclimate are pretty severe (not just for people that have lived in the tropics for a decade) and at this moment we are doing what we can to get a roof over our heads before it gets too frosty and wet.

People with golden hands and or experience with natural building or general building and carpenter skills would be extremely welcome :)

Current running projects:

Work & Projects:

1 - fixing a small part of the ruin by making a concrete ringbeam and new roof. Plastering and making an earthen floor. Builders and carpenters welcome :)
2 - Building a shed from an old pigpen, using recycled and natural materials like pallets and slipstraw.
3 - Building an outdoor kitchen and bathroom.

- Gardening is always an ongoing thing. Making and care taking of gardens to create an abundance of healthy and tasty food.
- Designing and building small kitchen and bathroom for a caravan we have build a shelter for. It will be a future place for friends, family and volunteers.

- Removing the many, many brambles and creating pathways. There are about 20 olive trees and several fig trees that are completely overgrown by brambles. They would love to be free again and breath and catch some sun.

Ofcourse we have an endless permaculture and DIY wishlist:

- Building a chicken coop
- Making a composting station
- Designing and building a water catchment and storage system

Making a platform for a bell tent and pergolaīs etc is also on the activity list.

Creating picknic tables and benches from pallets! Yes!

And the list goes on and on and on :)

About our daily schedule:
We try to get as much work done as possible before our kids are out of school. In the summertime we work early and have a break during the heat and usually pick up again a little later in the day. That said we are completely flexible if for instance you want to surf in the morning and do the chores in the afternoon or something like this.

We welcome anybody who wants to come and join us in this process with a good head on his shoulders and a positive attitude.
Off course we would welcome skilled carpenters who can help build an outdoor kitchen, put a roof on our ruin or permaculturists with design skills, but if you are happy to come pull out some brambles a few hours a day, cooking or organising fun stuff with our kids while camping in a natural and peaceful environment then thatīs fine too :p

Workwise our attention has shifted to:

- making a concrete ringbeam on a small part of the ruin and building a roof, plastering and making an earthen floor.
- Prepping and maintaining gardens Like madmen and women (check this blogpost: )
- Setting up an irrigation system so our gardens and trees can have refreshments without too much of our energy.
- Making platform for meditation, Yoga and Jiu Jitsu
- Building a shed from recycled and natural materials
- Building amenities like outdoor kitchen and shower

Let us know what you enjoy doing or something youīd like to partake in and we can see if we can hook you up :)

The term of your stay:

Although we can find simple jobs for short term people who want to have minimum input, we appreciate and prefer to connect with people who are genuinely interested in this kind of lifestyle and want to stay for a minimum of 2 weeks.

We try to live healthy and sustainably but donīt take things tooo seriously and like to have fun.
At this point in our lives we appreciate people who live from the heart and can be them selves. We are all a work in progress :)

In our time off we like to do BJJ (Brazillian Jiu Jitsu), Tabata and percussion etc but were also working on a small yoga and meditation platform. We try to find our way into raising our kids somewhat "unconditional" and like to share experiences with this also. We are all teachers and students at the same time :)

Most of all we appreciate human connection and sharing this amazing life :)

As we are very basic at this point, our place would , be most suitable for people, couples or families with own transportation who appreciate a back to basic and natural stay. think compost toilets, solar heated showers, shooting stars and many birds and trees. Oh and nothing but the enchanting sounds of nature (and of course our kids jumping on the trampoline and running amok :)

The area:

We are situated in a rural area called Lameiros that is a part of Sao Luis. Just 1000 meters away there is a most typical, nostalgic small cafe where you can buy some bread and eggs and enjoy a cold beer or Medronho with the locals. There also is a super nice pop-up pizza restaurant there on Sunday!

The small town of Sao Luis is only a 8 minute drive away and here you can stock up on some small town life and visit more cafeīs and small supermarkets and local markets. You can even do yoga, Thai Chi, BJJ and Zumba there!

In your own time you can do many things here but most are outdoor activities.

Natural treasures:
- You can go for a swim in nearby fresh water canyon lake called "Pego das Pias" which is about 15 minutes away.

- Perhaps surfing or stand up paddle boarding is more your thing , then you can go to one of the beaches or river beaches like Villa Nova de Milfontes or Malhao. These are about a 20 minute drive away.

- There are walking routes from the "Rota Vicentina" that go either through inland villages with beautifull scenery or passed the coast.

Within 25 minutes you find yourself on one of the pristine beaches of the Atlantic coast where you can do surfing, stand up paddle boarding on the river estuary, walk the "rota vicentina" or just enjoy the sunset with a regional wine and olives :)

For "City Slickers":
- In Villa Nova De Milfontes you can enjoy more restaurants and in the high season even some night clubs. Oh and .... ice cream :)
- In Odemira you can do some sightseeing. It has a Chocolaterie a "Harry Potteresque" library, a cinema with one theatre, a nice river and ofcourse narrow old Portugese streets and houses.
- Sao Luis is a sleepy little town but bubbling under the surface. There are local and hippie markets, Sunday Artisanal Pizza Event, a positively Crazy Ultimate Frisbee team but also yoga, capoeiera, Zumba, Tai Chi, percussion classes, BJJ etc

If you need transport to our place then we can organize a pickup from the bus stop in Sao Luis, Cercal or Vila Nova de Milfontes.

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