help exchange   Host 62812
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 4,5
Persons: 3
Category: Other
Host ID: 62812
Country: Portugal

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Last Updated: January 8, 2018

Hi, my name is Rute, I'm Portuguese and I have a small farm of 4,5 hectares near Evora in Portugal. The farm is located 30km (19miles) from the city of Evora, just 150 Km from Lisbon and 100km from Spain and has plenty of scope to live off the land and be almost self-sufficient. That certainly is the idea. However before all this becomes a reality, there is a lot of work to be done and I would welcome some help to get there..
I bought this farm mainly to have my horses close to me, since I work in this region and also Iím trying to have a more self-sufficient and sustainable approach of life.
I'd like to, at least, keep chickens, for eggs, land clearing and fertilizer. Unfortunately my jobs requires that I travel a lot and I still haven't got round to rebuilding the chicken house and a chicken tractor. For now itís just a vegetable garden and several fruit trees. Depending on season and growing of the trees/bushes there may be oranges, pears, apricots, grapes, peaches, plums, physalys, figs, apples, kumquats, strawberries, elderberries, wild blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, quinces, walnuts, almonds and even pomegranates. FYI in August there's a lot of wild blackberrys at my place!
I also have at the farm my 4 horses (riding them is allowed if you know how to do it and I'm present), a dog and occasionally some other animals.
This exchange offer is principally for people who like working outdoors doing energetic, physical labor in a methodical manner. Often the work will be physical, so expect to be tired. I'm looking for positive and motivated people that are not opposed to getting their hands dirty! Also I expect you to be responsible, think on your feet, be able to integrate and welcome any challenges.
As I have a job, helpers that want to stay at my farm should be prepared to sometimes be working alone if I have no other volunteers here. Especially during the week.
I have lots of different jobs that I need help with and help required will vary according the time of the year. For example, If you're coming during the month of November then it's time to pick olives from the olive trees.
Building skills such as carpentry, masonry, fencing, painting and decorating are very useful, and basic DIY skills would be great if not , no problem as long as you are willing to learn. You can stay for as long as you want even if just for a weekend.
I try to treat everyone as individuals, attempt to work within their personal abilities and if possible I'll try to give you new experiences and knowledge.
There are plenty things to do and new things to do show up every day. The progress with the work to be done will vary with the weather and the skills and abilities which you will introduce. Nevertheless, I wonít ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't do myself.

As for working hours, the following options are available for helpers:

In return I offer only accommodation and if necessary I'll give you a ride to the supermarket so that you buy the food for you (you may still help yourself freely to any vegetables from the vegetable garden)

In return I offer accommodation and Iíll cook for you either lunch or dinner (if Iím not at work it will be lunch and if Iím at work it will be dinner) each day of your stay including on your days off as well. For the rest of the meals, you'll have to buy your own food (you may still help yourself freely to any vegetables from the vegetable garden).

OPTION THREE - AROUND 25 HOURS (sometimes 5 more) HELP PER WEEK over 5 days (2 DAYS OFF)
In return I offer accommodation all week and food for breakfast, lunch and dinner on each day of your stay. One of the meals is cooked by me not including on your days off (if Iím not at work it will be lunch and if Iím at work it will be dinner) and as for the other two meals Iíll buy you the necessary groceries (within reason!!!) and you'll cook for yourself.
Any other food that you may want to consume between meals (like cookies, beer, juices, etc.) you'll have to pay for them.

The hours of help that I'll require from you will be distributed unevenly through the week. The weekend days will probably be the ones when you'll have to do more.
Donít get me wrong, you can do more hours if you want to I just won't ask it of you. Starting and ending of the workís day will depend on the weather. But if the temperature expected for any given day should be high you may have to start working as early as necessary to take advantage of the morningís low temperature. FYI, on June, July and August sunrise is around 06h30m in the morning and by 10 a.m. it can be already extremely hot. Temperatures may go up to 43ļ Celcius or more!
You wonít be expected to work outdoors during extreme heat or rain. I donít do it, so why should you have to?
During the weekends, in the summer, working hours start between 0630 and 7a.m., depending on the expected temperature for the day. Iíd be grateful if you could get yourself out of bed and be ready to start by then.
Yes, I realise that it is indeed very early for many people, (especially because youíll be on vacations) but you'll have the afternoon all to yourself to relax, take a nap if you so desire it or to go summing at the lake.
Nevertheless, you'll only have to get up this early on either the weekends or any other day that I won't go to work and may be there. And only if it is expected to be a very high temperature during the day. If its not, working hours start around 8a.m. in the summer (June, July, August and September) and 9a.m. the rest of the year.

The days off may not always be the same days every week. It will be something weíll need to coordinate when you get here.
You'll be staying at your own house that you may have to share with other helpers. This house is an old house, built in 1881 using rocks and earth. It has a kitchen and a living room in an open space concept, a bathroom and two bedrooms. If you would like to come with friends, I can accommodate up to 5 volunteers, depending on previous bookings from other helpers. One of the bedrooms can host up to 3 individuals of the same sex and the other one can host 2 individual of the same sex or a couple. Nevertheless, the house's recovery is still a work in progress, so don't expect to much luxury! Also, for hot water showers you'll have to go to the main house since I still haven't installed a water heater at the house where you'll be staying.

Be prepared with working gloves, a pair of jeans (or any other kind of long leg trousers), walking/working shoes, at least a sweatshirt/jacket (even if its during the summer because sometimes it gets cold in the evening), warm clothes during the winter and a sleeping bag. Iíll provide you with a pillow.
There's also lots os space for camping and you can bring a caravan too.

In spite of you living in your own house, it is expected that you'll keep it tidy and don't leave glasses, bottles, dishes and other stuff lying around, especially outdoors. When you leave, youíre expected to leave your room as clean and tidy as how you found it.
Although your room is off limits to me, Iíll need access to the common areas of the house to get to the other rooms where I have my tools.
Also you will be expected to repair or replace any breakages you do to anything in the house during your stay.
Due to the farmís location mobile signal is very weak, if any at all and THERE IS NO INTERNET AVAILABLE for the same reason. But if you travel 2Km from my place, you'll be able to use your cell phone and the internet in it.

It's probably important to point out that Iím located in a quite rural area. Itís a great place to relax, read or walk. If you enjoy horses and animals in general and a quiet rural way of life I think that you will enjoy volunteering at my farm.
If you want to you can also ride my bike to the nearest villages (the closest one is about 2 Km away) or take the bus to go to the nearest towns.
…vora is just 30 Km (19 miles) away and is one of Portugal's finest and most delightful towns. It is a true open-air museum with a large number of wonderfully preserved monuments and buildings of public interest that led UNESCO to protect it as a World Heritage Site.
Closer to my home (14km) , there's also the town of Arraiolos where you can visit the Castle, the Arraiolos Tapestry Museum and the "Aldeia da Serra" exibition which is a terracota sculpture garden.
You can also go to the Divor Lake where you can swim, go fishing (you'll need a fishing licence that you can get at …vora) or bird watching. (HEADS UP: the lake is 15km from my place so if you're not bringing a car or aren't willing to ride my bike to get there I'll only be able to either give you a ride there on the days that I'm not working or to take you there on your free days on my way to my job).
Also if you like wine tasting, this is a wine country so thereís several wineries close by.
Nevertheless, I advise you to bring at least one book to occupy some of your free time. Like I said, I live in a quite rural area.
If you are looking for big crowds and sophisticated wine bars and nightclubs this experience is not suitable to you.

I'll need to know the precise date you will arrive and the approximate date you plan to leave (we can always extend your stay if we get on great, but the walls are not elastic so I do need to do some forward planning). If possible, plan to arrive and leave on a Friday.

Happy to pick up volunteers from a nearby bus stations. But since I also have a job, I will need a heads up with enough time to coordinate things at work with my boss. If you need any information about how to get at one of the nearby towns just let me know.

Your animals are welcome. Nevertheless, like I said, I have a dog. A MALE dog. So if youíre bringing a female dog you may end up leaving with a litter of puppies since my dog is a very love giving animal to the ladies.
Thereís also a bunch of cats from the neighbor that sometimes are at my door so I ask for people who are not allergic to any of these animals.
Also, it's not unusual to see foxes, rabits, quails, wild boars and other wild animals.

I would advise to bring mosquito repellent and if you want to a mosquito net to put over the bed, especially if you're coming during the summer. The mosquitos can be quite annoying.
Also, I think it is extremely important to point out that usually hosts expend their time and resources by at least preparing their home for a helpers visit (at least I do). There is nothing obligating a helper to go to a certain host house and it is in their right to have a change of heart and decide against going there. However, I find extremely annoying and a complete lack of good manners when people change their mind about visiting and donít inform the host. There may be other people interested in coming and by not giving the host a heads up, as soon as possible, these rude people are putting in jeopardy those other peopleís stay at the said host house. There is no need to make up excuses and what not. Just say that you wonít be coming after all. I donít think it to be that hard.
I donít know the rest of the hostsí opinion on this subject, but by my book this shows a completely lack of respect, up bring and consideration for a host. I hope you understand this issue and that, please, if for some reason you contact me to come to my place and afterwards change your mind, let me know about it as soon as possible.
After all a human-being is distinguished from animals not on account of his intelligence alone but also on account his behavior and manners.

Nevertheless, even if you decide not to come to my little place I wish to you all the best and happy travels.

Looking forward to hear from you soon,

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