Andrea on October 23rd, 2014

All summer we’ve been struggling to keep the goats away from the grape vines, in order to protect our harvest of fruit. Vine leaves are one of the goats’ favourite foods and if they are allowed to they’re easily able to strip a vine in minutes, sometimes damaging it in the process and certainly scoffing the tasty grapes as well. With vines growing all over the farm and a bunch of fairly determined goats, it’s not been an easy task.

But now that the grapes have all been harvested and our wine, jeropiga and aguardente are safely underway we’re positively encouraging the goats to dig in. It’s no wonder they think we’re crazy!

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Quinta Cabeça do Mato on October 22nd, 2014
No Till, just a few reasons why Often called “Conservation Agriculture” (CA) is used to define zero-tillage combined with permanent surface mulch The benefits of minimal soil disturbance plus mulch can be seen in practice at many Permaculture farms, including here at Quinta Cabeça do Mato where gradually our land is being transformed to more fertile and abundant and beautiful nature loving state, Feed the earth and Feed your plants to Feed healthy people. That’s a circle coming back to a healthy planet! If you are local and interested in our Community Supported Agriculture scheme please contact us at This method gives savings in time - we can use this time to do other activities but also it can result in timelier planting and better yields Less cost - savings in fuel costs (Taking into account the unsustainable use of non renewable fossil fuels , we only have one planet) also energy for pumping water, and less wear and tear on tractors and equipment, in fact the tractor should be used to the minimum. Savings in water and therefore increased water use efficiency – (using drip for ex.) better water infiltration and better moisture in the soil profile Less soil erosion since water infiltration is better Minimal soil disturbance actually brings less seed to the surface for germination . With a good layer of mulch and time, weed problems are reduced. Mulch from cereal residue has allelopathic properties that reduce weed germination Soil organic matter increases, especially at the soil surface where it is most important Soil physical properties including surface soil aggregates improve. Soil porosity improves because of the action of the previous crop roots that leave a network of continuous pores that allow for easier root penetration of the next crop . Soil biological diversity increases incredibly leading to more biological activity and Mycorrhizal Fungi and better recycling of nutrients It has been shown that once this system has stabilized, pest and disease problems are less. For pests, the residue on the surface promotes and provides a habitat for beneficial insects. For diseases, soil microbial diversity is increased leading to better disease control and reduction in proliferation of just a few pathogenic diseases. Be Aware- Our land is the most degraded biological entity on Earth, Each mechanical cultivation kills off micro-organisms. We should have respect for the land and realize we are working with a living biological entity
Andrea on October 19th, 2014

Our weekly round up of what volunteers have been working on at Casalinho, our developing permaculture project in central Portugal.


Once again our activities have been largely dictated by the weather, but we’ve been very lucky and had dry mornings most days in which to get the essentials done. As I write though, it’s a balmy morning and we’re due some blue skies again.


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Left to right, top to bottom:

1) Another amazing sunset.

2) Rain means that we’ve had to take down the dam which makes our little bathing pool. Josh came prepared for such an eventuality with an interesting wet suit and wellies combo.

3) After heavy rain our animal shed composting system became waterlogged. A trench to catch run off from the roof, re-emergence of the pond and removal of lots of material has allowed it to dry out.

4) Bad weather illustrates how important it is for volunteers to arrive equipped with decent footwear and waterproofs. Here, Boy models borrowed pink Crocs as his own blatantly unsuitable suede trainers dry off.

5) Kittens appear not to be at all bothered by my own wet socks and boots. Possibly because they’re in front of the stove?

6) If there is any warmth about then you can bet your bottom dollar (euro?) that there’s a kitten asleep in it. Bottles of newly bottled pear purée cooling present such an opportunity.

7) Broken wheelbarrows have been utilised as feeders in the animal shed. Or day beds. Take your pick.

8) This photo is rubbish but if you squint you can perhaps see that this spider has hundreds of babies all over her body.

9) In previous years we’ve made jars and jars of blackberry jam. This year the blackberries went from hard and sour to squashy and watery seemingly overnight.


The post Our Week in Pictures: 20th October 2014 appeared first on Casalinho.

Quinta Cabeça do Mato on October 19th, 2014
Invitation to help ,2 weeks- 25 Oct-8 Nov , come and join in the olive harvest at Quinta Cabeça do Mato, Tábua. Please bring clothes for all weathers, and sleeping bag, torch, willing hands. We provide vegetarian food. Shared house. Let us know if you can come, details- Convite para estes duas semanas, 25 Oct-8 Nov, junta-te ao à colheita de azeitonas na Quinta Cabeça do Mato, Tábua. por favor traga roupa para todas tempos, saco-cama, lanterna, vontade de trabalhar. Comida vegetariana incluída. Casa partilhada Avisa-nos se puderes vir,
Leen on October 18th, 2014

Sabado 22 Novembro

Nós, aqui no concelho Covas Tabua vai cuidar da nova floresta na minha terra.
Cada um é bem-vindo.
As árvores já estão lá crescendo precisa de alguma poda.
Começaremos em 10,15 u
Se você tiver outros lugares ou idéias, me avise.
Sinta-se livre para árvores pland agradáveis em sua própria terra ou vizinhos.
Nós também podemos fazer um pouco mais de plantação no

Encontrar um lugar perto de você. Se houver não se sentir livre para organizar um.

Saturday 22 November.

We ,Here in Covas concelho Tabua are going to take care of the new Forest on my land .Every one is welcome .The trees are already there growing need some pruning.
We will start at 10.15 u
If you have other places or ideas let me know.
Feel free to pland nice trees at your own or neighbors land .
We can also do some more planting in the

 Find a place close to you . If there is non feel free to organize one .


Andrea on October 13th, 2014

Our weekly round up of what volunteers have been doing at Casalinho, our developing permaculture project in central Portugal.

Katinka rain

Katinka’s marvellous photo above sums up this week’s weather. It’s been grim! But our intrepid volunteers have been cracking on in the drier patches.

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Left to right, up to down:

1) Fabulous colour combo from the garden!

2) Collecting grasses for the animals. What they don’t eat provides the basis of our compost, and the chickens have a great old time scratching through it for the worms and other bugs which come to inhabit it.

3) Cleaning out one of the goat pens.

4) The wine has now been transferred into wooden barrels where it will go through a second fermentation. I’ve been boiling up water in our 5 litre kelly kettle for cleaning the barrels out. Love this piece of kit!

5) Minea continues in her role as Casalinho’s resident hairdresser.

6) Picnic on the mountain.

7) Below. Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Let’s hope so!

Katinka sunset


The post Our Week in Pictures: 13th October 2014 appeared first on Casalinho.

Quinta Cabeça do Mato on October 10th, 2014
Would you like to volunteer to help on our Permaculture farm? please send us an email!
We are an English family with children aged 2 and 5. We have looked at Portuguese schools and have decided that we want to provide our children with an education that offers more freedom, is fun, and motivating with a stronger focus on outdoor education and arts. Homeschooling is an option but we are searching for families that may want to set up an education group in our area. In this way we could all input our own individual skills , time and energy and create opportunities for the children to socialise too.  Please get in touch if you live nearby or know a family that may be interested.
Many thanks,
Naomi Foxcroft
admin on October 10th, 2014
I will be moving over from Bulgaria to central Portugal in December some time. I am looking for a property to house sit or rent on a long term basis as I look for the right place to buy. I will be travelling in my old horse box with 4 horses, 3 dogs, 2 cats and 7 chickens. We are all well trained and friendly  I have been running a little natural riding centre and retreat centre here, but we have outgrown the space and I think rather then invest in a bigger property in Bulgaria I would prefer to re home us all in Portugal, it feels like it is a better place for us with more land and a bigger Eco community.

My animals are my world and I dream of them having lovely land to wander over. I can live in the horsebox and have electric fencing for the horses and a temporary field shelter for them to shelter in. The chickens live under the lorry and dogs and cats are in with me. If you have a place or maybe you know some one who would like their place sat or cheap rental or some one who can lend us some of their land in exchange for help.

My house has not sold here yet and I wont have work when I arrive, so dont have large amounts to spend. I am very respectful of peoples spaces and my animals are all neutered and friendly. We need some where to call home whilst I search for our new place. Any ideas much appreciated.
Please email me on or through facebook Honeyhouse Stables or have a look at my website where you can read about us all and get a better idea Honey House Stables and Retreat Center


When: 01/11/2014 @ 20:00 — 30/11/2014 @ 17:00
Where: Awakened Life Project, Benfeita, Arganil
Cost: Free (Volunteer Work)

In the last years we started working in the forests around our farms and we made great progress. In 2013 we had a 6 week forest work camp which was a big success. Still there is so much more work to do, that’s why we are looking for 4 volunteers to help for the whole month of November. We will continue to work on restoring the neglected forests around us and step by step turn them into diverse and healthy forests of which there are hardly any left in this part of the country. Just the same as in other parts of Portugal big areas of the Serra do Acor are being clearcut leaving the land very exposed for erosion and without any habitat for wildlife, while other areas are covered with eucalyptus monoculures and are effectively turned into deserts.

We are passionate to set an example by recreating an abundant and beautiful forest – a place where the magic and magnificence of life can be felt strongly and that helps to connect us more to the essential value of the woods and Nature. Beyond all the resources the forest has to offer, it is so precious to be surrounded by a beautiful natural environment –it is a very nourishing, inspiring and deeply comforting place to be. The work we need to do during this month in the woods is physically very demanding and rough, therefore we prefer participates to be male. At times the tasks are monotonous – the work involves digging, hacking of branches, thinning out (cutting) of small trees, carrying logs, processing of firewood, collecting of seeds and planting them, planting trees, making paths, clearing land, building small wooden structures etc. This being said, it is extraordinary beautiful to work in simplicity surrounded by nature, and deeply satisfying to help develop the forest. There is something deeply right about using ones body to work on the land, to be productive and creative. For myself I can definitely say that doing this work and caring for the woods is helping me to get more in touch with myself and the heart of nature. Also it is particularly beautiful to do this kind of work in camaraderie with others for a bit longer – it is nice to get into a routine and head into the woods, day after day.

We need to get a lot of work done during these weeks, so our focus will not be teaching permaculture, alternative forestry or evolutionary spirituality, however you can pick up quite a bit as we work. The Awakened Life Project is all about transformation and creating a new culture you so it only makes sense to participate if you are very interested in our vision and willing to participate in communal life – daily sitting meditations are part of our routine. We offer accommodation, very good vegetarian food, an incredibly beautiful place to be, and the opportunity to experience living in our community, together with others who are very committed to living in unity with each other and nature. While you are here you will have access to our library with great selection of books on spirituality, sustainability, ecology etc.