help exchange   Host 37027
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All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 1.3
Persons: 1/2
Category: Non Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 37027
Country: Portugal

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Last Updated: September 5, 2020

Situated in a rural SOUTHERN ALENTEJO, but not isolated location near Ourique in a valley close to the Barragem Monte do Rocha. Good road links at Ourique from main road and motorway networks and main line rail link at Funcheira station near Garvao 7kms away.
Algarve (South) 1hour driving and Lisbon 2 hours driving (North)
Looking for help now for preparing ground and weed clearing, planting out etc.,

We are looking to host from second week of August but be aware we may need to ask more questions regarding where you have travelled from before accepting to host. Also we are in extreme heat situation, most afternoons it is not possible to do anything outside so you need to be adaptable about when tasks are carried out, we do most of our watering after sundown. Due to ongoing relearning of our solar electric system, after last years lightning strike, we are at times running on generator, especially for water pumping....
Also to be aware that John is rapidly losing his sight which is providing new challenges, but also means I have at times to be with him more than usual, You need to be adaptable to changing situations.

We are keeping on top of day to day running but need help with extra projects, ground preparation, new irrigation systems, care of plants and growing areas. We also have a couple of small construction projects so carpentry skills might be useful. Ability to take the dogs for a walk would be very useful.
Mechanical expertise would be especially welcome. Vacancy long/short term but not less than 2 weeks please.
And please check about travel conditions for you before you ask to come, we have had many issues with turning other people down when somebody has confirmed, to be let down by discovery that flights/travel is too expensive.

Not under the Tuscan sun, but the beautiful Alentejo region of Portugal (See the You Tube video `Cork in a bottle` on-line)

If you are thinking of leaving the stress of nine to five in city life and have an idea of living in the country and growing your own food - maybe you would like to spend some time with us. You will learn the good and not so good points of living off the land, find out if you have what it takes in a try before you buy.

We are now our 17th year here and have weathered many storms, literal and emotionally, but have managed to create something unique which has now been recognised with our venture supplying produce to for a high end (one of the worlds top 50) restaurant weekly. Just planning the new growing areas, but weather conditions are challenging. This creates a unique learning opportunity about climate change and the challenge it makes

So now we need to focus our efforts and would love for helpers who would really like to learn what it takes and share our beautiful location.
We are looking for somebody with dynamism and enthusiasm to help us take this project forward. Maybe a share farming project for long or short term. The business is up and running, from a base of zero capital. We struggled the first year and put everything back in. Two winters back we took a lease agreement on a small tractor to let John have some autonomy again in the project and to help with the heavy work of ground preparation.
We ourselves work long hours, every day of the week, this is reality of running any farming unit. There is still much to invest to really keep this project alive and moving forward. Do you want to be there with us, become part of the family and maybe in the future partner us? This is a unique opportunity for somebody to walk into something already established and help make it a success.

We are 60 and 88 and have our disabilities but keep ourselves fully occupied. We try to enable our helpers to leave here with plenty of knowledge/skills and as life long friends.
We still attend the university of life and have developed many skills along the way, which help us to focus outside the box when problems need to be solved. We are innovative and creative, love life, music, art, books and learning something new each day.

We have several garden areas set in a 1.3 hectare olive grove, with chickens, 2 barmy dogs and three nutty cats. Plus all the wildlife that moves in at times.
in recent years we put up a new tunnel and re-covered our old one with help from our volunteers. Last year we expanded the growing areas, share farming with a land usage swap. It will be interesting to see where this takes the project. What we could not foresee was the gremlin striking again with the lightening strike....but we rose to the challenge yet again as did our brilliant helpers...

the Guest accommodation is nice and the food you can experiment with is the freshest you will get anywhere, straight from the garden. One volunteer sent a photo to her mum saying she felt like a celebrity chef, with a view from her cooker across the countryside with Nightingales singing.

The room (with en-suite shower room) is set up to sleep 2 people but we have also created - with the help of our guests - the elevated yurt, with comfortable double bed, if you like a slightly posher style of camping.

Sorry but I DO NOT cook for others, my life is too hectic.
Facility is provided for cooking but you will get your own meals, as and when you need to eat.
During the previous winter helpers have enclosed the terrace to make a dedicated but simple kitchen area and the room has a small wood burning stove to keep it cosy in winter months, collecting firewood is something to be enjoyed while walking the dogs maybe...
Our recent guests have found our internet good and have been taking on-line courses during their own time.
We are Solar powered with a back up Generator (currently out of commission but have invested in a smaller version until we can find a technic to sort out the big one). You can learn a lot about renewable energy during your stay. While we have had a normal household you will need to be aware of energy usage and bear with us about what can and cannot be used.
Currently clothes washing needs a trip to a machine in town so has to be planned for.

We are a little isolated from the town so own transport is needed if you want to explore further afield. Trips to the town or to local market are sometimes possible, depending on room in our vehicle. Cars are not available to rent in Ourique, possibly available at Beja or Milfontes on the coast. if you need one, best to rent before you come via Algarve or Lisbon.

Ideally we would love to have somebody on a longer term basis, maybe somebody early retired, but short term and students are also welcome.

The weather here is always a challenge. At times we can do a lot outside, at others we have to just chill out, this is why own transport helps so you can take off to beach or explore during afternoons.

Days off need to be arranged - we are very flexible within reason, but sadly my crystal ball has been mislaid so we do need you to converse with us about this.

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