Welcome to Quinta Das Abelhas
2.7 hectares of mostly terraced, organic land on a south-facing slope overlooking the valley and two mountain ranges. 10 mins walk to the village, with bars, shop, and restaurant, and 15-20 mins walk to the river Mondego for swimming and fishing.
Andy & Sophie live in their newly eco-renovated house: Andy’s the cook and gardener, a bit of a computer geek, and loves to debate the collapse of civilisation! Sophie’s the “wage slave” - tied to her computer most days, but loves to garden and is passionate about horses.
We have two main gardens on the quinta – one overseen by Andy and one by Sophie. Here we grow as much of our own food as possible, enjoying fresh-picked fruit and vegetables in the summer, and preserving and storing for winter. We also have fruit, nut & citrus trees, grape vines (for juice and wine) and olive trees (for eating and oil).
There are 3 small areas of hillside woodland (pine, mimosa, oak) which supply some of our firewood and building timber.
We have horses, ducks and chickens, dogs and cats on the quinta, plus a variety of wildlife including salamanders, frogs, hoopoes, woodpeckers, owls, foxes, and more!
Volunteer accommodation is a caravan or yurt. You’re welcome to bring your own tent/yurt/tipi and there’s some flat space at the top of the land to park a camper/van.
Food is provided and special diets can be catered for.
Children are welcome and, if they don’t want - or are too young - to join in with the work, can have meals for 5 euros each per day (5-12 yrs); 10 euros per day (over 12 yrs); under 5 yrs eat free.
Volunteers have the use of a composting toilet, solar shower, and outdoor bathtub (light a fire underneath for hot water!). There’s a traditional “scrub sink” for laundry, but one of our projects is to convert an old washing machine to pedal power.
We have wireless internet and a computer for volunteers' use. One of the jobs you will be asked to do is help keep the blog updated, we like that it reflects the thoughts of everyone who experiences and shares life at the quinta, so don't be afraid to write honestly - good and bad - about your time here!
Work varies with the seasons but will usually include digging, weeding, planting and watering in the gardens; harvesting and preserving; mucking out the animals (if you have experience with horses some riding may be possible); building work; general maintenance & keeping the place tidy; household chores; and childcare. We want you to enjoy your time here and won’t ask you to do something you really don’t want to! We ask that you work 6 hours per day, 6 days per week, in return for accommodation and 3 meals per day, 7 days per week. We prefer volunteers to stay for between two and four weeks, though we are flexible and longer stays are often possible after this initial 'trial' period.
You may choose to work your 6 hours whenever you like, unless we have a large project which needs 'all hands'. In the summer you will probably not want to work in the afternoons (the hottest part of the day), preferring to work for a few hours in the early morning and a few hours in the late afternoon/early evening.
We have a number of projects which we undertake as time & finances allow and if you have a creative streak we welcome your ideas for 'funkying up' the place (mosaics are a bit of a feature here). Depending on the time of year, there is also harvesting and preserving of produce, making wine and olive oil, etc.
As we are often busy with computer work for our business please be prepared to sometimes be working alone if we have no other volunteers here. If you would like to come with friends, we can usually accommodate up to 6 volunteers.
WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU:
Useful items to bring with you include - torch/flashlight, old/work clothes, sunhat, suncream & swimwear in summer, waterproofs in winter, biodegradeable/eco-friendly washing products.
Many of our volunteers have asked if we'd like them to bring us anything - things that we appreciate (and can’t get hold of easily here) are english-language books, good-quality soy sauce, bisto gravy powder, yogi tea, 'faith in nature' shampoo, ecover heavy-duty hand cleaner, or a book/dvd for the 'library' from our wish list!
INSURANCE & HEALTH CARE:
Check you have insurance that covers medical care including transportation home, accidents, and loss of property. You should also be covered against you injuring other people or losing or breaking other peoples' property. Make sure your insurer knows that you will be a volunteer on a farm. Special insurance for WWOOF members: http://www.wwoof.org/wwindynews/wwoof_info/info_21.htm
Get yourself a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in case you need medical treatment whilst in Portugal, either as the result of illness or accident.
More info on our website: www.portugalsmallholding.org