Portugal
Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo

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3 travelers at this place
  • Day13

    And for fun...

    July 12, 2017 ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    Although we mostly stayed at the Quinta (the farm), we had a few outings. Beside the weekly grocery run, on Sundays we also went to some local flea markets combined with a trip to the local beaches in Fuseta, Sao Bras and Olhao.

    A few weeks into our stay the Tavira Film Festival started. It was an open air theater in the court yard of an old monastery. We saw some alternative films such as Dersu and Amasan, but the best were:
    - Toni erdmann - absolutely hilarious https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0uwi5EPnpA
    - O Grande Fusi - inspirational https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q34DavoaEdE
    - The eagle huntress - just really cool https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vfi5JS6HTH0

    We were also able to do a bit of work for Horta das Canas, a guesthouse just down the road. There we could jump in the pool and borrow some mountainbikes. We biked to the top of a nearby hill with the ruins of an old windmill, just in time for a beautiful sunset.
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  • Day14

    Farm animals

    July 13, 2017 ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    The cats and chickens sure had some character. They deserve their very own post!

    Ophelia and Fatima (the chickens) would somehow squeeze through a small gap in their cage and we'd have to chase after them before they got into too much trouble. They would bolt for the cat food and take dust baths in the garden, digging up and knocking over the veggies. They laid eggs consistently, ate ants and any kitchen scraps, so we put up with their shenanigans. But "if they get in the garden one more time", they'd become chicken soup.

    Juno (the cat) was also quite special. If he wasn't lazing around, he'd be wrestling his mom (Branchinia), or disturbing the seeds in the seed bowl. We slept outside, and once Juno realized where we were sleeping, he'd sneak over the bamboo roof and be sleeping on our legs in the morning (outside the mosquito net). Talk about cute!
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  • Day15

    And other inhabitants

    July 14, 2017 ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

    It was fun to explore the Quinta for other animals. There were some interesting bugs around, like a praying mantis, a snake, huge bees that were pollinating the passion fruit, a few types of spiders. There were lots of geckos, but they were too fast to get a good picture.Read more

  • Day27

    One last walk across the farm

    July 26, 2017 ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

    In the time we had been at the Quinta, the vegetables had grown big. The water level in the river had dropped even lower but we felt like we had contributed a bit to this cool project. We got some perspective on permaculture farming, although in a different season we might have been able to do more hands-on learning.

    We had spent 3 weeks at the Quinta. Even though we could easily have stayed for much longer, we were also looking forward to explore Southern Spain. We booked a rental car and made plans to go to Faro to pick it up.
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  • Day8

    Why Portugal?

    July 7, 2017 ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    We went to Portugal for the opportunity to learn about <b>permaculture</b> (http://wp.me/P2OyVq-6r), something we want to experiment with ourselves. Also, it was a chance to recover from a busy period. We could de-stress from work and from wrapping up our lives in the Netherlands. And we would have some time to plan our future.

    It was also a nice chance to get away from the mild, rainy weather in the Netherlands. We were warned that the hot and dry weather would mean there was little work on the farm. We were completely fine with that. :)

    <u>Picture</u>: Jenna relaxing in the hammock overlooking the farm
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  • Day9

    The Quinta

    July 8, 2017 ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    The Quinta (Quinta Alvorada do Ouro) is a farm in the hills of the Algarve region of Southern Portugal.

    The house is made with beautiful clay walls. It stays nice and cool in the summer heat. There are art projects everywhere. The house is built on old ruins, which is the easiest way to get a building permit in Portugal. All around the property are <b>permaculture</b> (http://wp.me/P2OyVq-6r) gardens that we took care of.

    Here is a link to the profile of the farm. https://www.workaway.info/199743224ba8-en.html
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  • Day10

    Farming

    July 9, 2017 ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    So, what kind of work did we do?

    Our main tasks each day included feeding the chickens and the cats (morning and evening). In the evening we would let the chickens roam free, while we watered the plants. Watering once the heat of the day was gone was important for saving water and staying out the heat. Victoria had three main beds that follow <b>permaculture</b> principles.

    We planted several plants that Victoria bought at the flea markets. And we put up chicken wire around a garden to protect it from the chickens. We also helped out with tasks around the house: general cleaning, patching up the clay walls, updating the website for Victoria's son's guest house, etc.

    <u>Picture</u>: Juno (the cat), not quite sure what to do about Ophelia and Fatima (the chickens) eating his food.
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  • Day11

    "If you can't take the heat, ..."

    July 10, 2017 ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

    "... don't tickle the dragon."

    It was regularly above 35°C at the Quinta. It felt like you were standing in front of a giant blow dryer. All planning was based around the times of day. We quickly learned to respect the heat, not fight it. You understand why people have Siesta in the afternoon. It is just too hot to do anything.

    We mostly found our relief inside, reading lots of books. In the morning and evening the hammock was nice as well. And a cloth sunshade provided some cover over the outdoor dinner table.

    For sleeping arrangements when we first arrived at the Quinta we had the choice of a small studio apartment at the back of the farm house or to 'sleep under the stars in the ruins'. At first we opted for the small studio apartment because sleeping under the stars seemed a little precarious. We were thinking what if it rains? But Victoria assured us, it would only rain again until November/December. Literally, not even a sprinkle while we were there! We are definitely not in Holland anymore.

    Once we learned to appreciate the 'lower' temperatures at night (25°C) we quickly took Victoria up on her offer to sleep under the stars. The ruins turned out to be an extra room at the end of the farm house that was never roofed when Victoria was rebuilding it. It had a normal bed with a mosquito net to keep the bugs away. It felt so refreshing. And being out in the country, we were fortunate to have very clear, starry skies.
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  • Day12

    Water Management

    July 11, 2017 ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

    Besides (or because of) the heat, water was limited. The Quinta (farm) is off-grid with no connection to a sewer or running water. Victoria has a large water reservoir that fills up in the winter and spring. But from May until September (sometimes until November) there is no rain. So she relies on the reservoir for the farm. When we arrived the river was gone, except for a small puddle. There goes our hope of jumping in the river to cool off!

    The cover on the reservoir had ripped and water was evaporating fast. We had to conserve as much as possible. It made it easier that Victoria had a (dry) composting toilet and there were no appliances (no dishwasher or washing machine). Gray water from hand washing dishes and clothes with biodegradable soap was given to the trees and flowers.

    Engineers to the rescue! We installed a new cover on the reservoir. And we pumped water from a well across the road to refill it. Exciting day at the Quinta!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo