Volunteer Opportunities on Organic Smallholding
Quinta das Abelhas, Central Portugal
We have many different jobs we would welcome help with. Of course the work varies with the seasons and some times are busier than others. We ourselves are learning with each new experience, and enjoy sharing knowledge.
Though we can't offer 5-star accommodation, we can offer a fantastic, peaceful location with wonderful views, good food (special diets catered for), and plenty of free time.
Children are welcome and, if they don’t want - or are to young - to join in with the work, can have meals for 3 euros each (under 5's free). See wwoofing with children.
We can accommodate a live-in vehicle/campervan at the top of our land on a reasonably flat parking space.
Dogs are welcome but must be good with our three male dogs, poultry, cats, horses, goats and sheep (the local shepherd brings his flock to graze nearby most days), and must not be allowed to wreak havoc in the gardens!
We ask that you work 6 hours per day, 6 days per week, in return for camping 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 usually 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.
Work varies with the seasons but will usually include digging, weeding, planting and watering in the gardens; helping with the animals (if you have experience with horses some riding is usually possible); building work; general maintenance & keeping the smallholding tidy, and household chores.
We have a number of little projects in the pipeline which we undertake as time & finances allow and if you have a creative streak we welcome your ideas for 'funkying up' the place (one of our volunteers, Mary, did some lovely mosaic work around some of the windows and doors on the house). Depending on the time of year, there is also harvesting and preserving of produce, making wine and olive oil, hay-making, 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 accommodate up to 6 volunteers.
ACCOMMODATION & FOOD:
You accommodation will be in a caravan, yurt, or tent (depending on what is available). You are welcome to bring you own tent/yurt/tipi etc. and we have some flat space at the top of our land where you can park a campervan/caravan.
Breakfast and lunch are 'help yourself' from the kitchen and gardens, and Andy cooks the evening meal for everyone. Special diets are no problem but please let us know in advance. We normally eat our evening meal at about 7-8pm in winter, and at about 9pm in summer.
The kitchen is definitely Andy's "domain", but he does like a night off from cooking once in a while, so if you'd like to cook that's possible, and it's a special treat for everyone if you can cook us a meal from your home country during your stay!
We are constantly (with help from volunteers) improving the facilities we have, but they are still very basic! We have an outdoor bath (light a fire underneath it to heat the water), two outdoor solar showers, and a composting toilet. Water for washing comes from a tap outside the kitchen and drinking water comes from a seperate outdoor tap about 10m from the house and needs to be collected in bottles. We have a traditional Portuguese laundry sink and we appreciate it if you can do your own washing by hand, though we can do things that are difficult to wash by hand - heavy work clothes etc. - in the washing machine.
Until our ruin is renovated we have very limited indoor communal space (a small kitchen in the "new house" and a larger, but very basic, living room in the ruin). In summer we usually all congregate around the big outdoor dining table.
We have wireless internet and a computer for volunteers' use. However our internet connection is not the best! 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!
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. We have a limited supply of spare bedding, so if you can manage to bring your own sleeping bag, that is helpful.
Many of our volunteers have asked if we'd like them to bring us anything - things that we appreciate (and can’t get 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.
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.