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.

PICT7891 PICT7887 PICT7886 PICT7882 Katinka Minea hairdresser katinka lunch on mountain

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.

When? 25/10/2014 @ 9 -12hr
Where? Fundão, Castelo Blanco
Price: 10,0 €


Facilitadores: Ricardo Gonçalves e Sara Rocha

Com participação de: Teresa Leite Gonçalves e Ricardo Gonçalves (Vida em Transição, Famílias Despertas), Andrea Giraldo López (Life Jam), Laura e Marko Maitz (Projecto Floresta Desperta), Jutta Weiske (Avidanja), Duarte Gonçalves (Projeto Alimento Desperto), Teresa Leite Gonçalves (Caracol do Sol), Sara Silva (Cidade Mais), Annelieke van der Sluijs e Sara Rocha (Coimbra em Transição)

Formato: breve apresentação inicial dos projectos, seguida de conversa interactiva com os participantes

Duração: 3h, de preferência Sábado de manhã (10h-13h)
Desde o seu início, em 2007, o Projecto Vida Desperta (Awakened Life Project – ALP), evoluiu de forma orgânica a partir da visão de Peter e Cynthia Bampton, e foi-se transformando numa “família” alargada espalhada por Portugal e além-fronteiras, onde vários membros têm encontrado inspiração e apoio mútuo para desenvolverem os seus próprios projectos

Criou-se uma estrutura de convivência e interligação em que cada um/a de nós é constantemente desafiado/a a descobrir mais do seu potencial e apoiado/a a expressá-lo. Algumas destas pessoas vivem no núcleo geográfico do projecto, na Quinta da Mizarela, e a restante maioria mantém uma ligação regular através do Grupo de Mulheres e do Grupo de Homens e de conversas semanais on-line. Cada participante tem a oportunidade de tornar-se co-criador(a) do ALP e simultaneamente viver esta realidade transpondo-a para o seu dia-a-dia, na localidade em que habita e trabalha, enquanto floresce em autonomia num contexto partilhado, em que os valores basilares são comuns a todos.

Ao partilhar as nossas experiências pessoais, pretendemos tocar em aspectos com que facilmente nos identificamos, tanto a nível pessoal como a nível cultural. Convidamos todas as pessoas presentes a entregarem-se a esta conversa e partilharem a sua experiência numa perspectiva de descoberta mútua.

Contamos com a presença das seguintes pessoas e projectos:

A Teresa e o Ricardo Gonçalves mudaram-se da cidade para o campo e partilham as suas experiências no site “Vida em Transição”. Desenvolveram o Curso on-line “Desperta para a Vida”, e pretendem desenvolver na sua quinta um centro para pais e filhos que queiram descobrir-se diariamente no projecto “Famílias Despertas”. A Teresa iniciou juntamente com duas outras mulheres um jardim de infância alternativa, o “Caracol ao Sol”, em Barril de Alva (Arganil).

Projeto Floresta Desperta: Laura e Marko Maitz estão a restaurar um floresta monocultural de pinheiros, transformando-os num próspero ecossistema florestal folhoso, tanto pelo seu valor intrínseco, bem como pela produção sustentável de alimentos e de outros recursos. No cerne do projeto está o desejo de despertar nas pessoas um sentido de conexão e de responsabilidade para com o meio ambiente e para connosco próprios. No núcleo do projeto existe o desejo de despertar nas pessoas um senso de conexão e responsabilidade com o meio ambiente e com nós mesmos. Andrea Giraldo López, juntamente com duas amigas da Colombia e após participar num curso intensivo no ALP, criou o projecto “Life Jam”, e uma das suas expressões é o Programa Intercambio de Transição, para que as pessoas interessadas na transformação do mundo através da mudança interior, possam aplicar os seus conhecimentos num projecto de transformação real.

Jutta Weiske e Sandra Szosak criaram a comunidade “Avidanja”, um centro de retiro onde acolhem e desenvolverm eventos e retiros nas áreas da saúde, arte, meditação e evolução. A Avidanja encontra-se numa nova fase do seu desenvolvimento, estando actualmente aberta a conhecer pessoas que se identifiquem com a visão do projecto e que queiram participar na sua construção.

Duarte Gonçalves é o Chef do Alimento Desperto, um projecto que pretende dinamizar a alimentação e a saúde dos portugueses através de oficinas de alimentação, palestras, receitas e serviço de restauração. Sara Silva integra a organização do evento anual Cidade Mais (Porto), uma celebração da cidadania, ambiente e sustentabilidade em contexto urbano

Annelieke van der Sluijs e Sara Rocha são associadas co-fundadoras da Coimbra em Transição e integram outros projectos sobre agro-ecologia. Tornaram o seu apartamento num espaço de experimentação e encontro, onde organizam sessões de meditação e acolhem eventos. Os facilitadores desta sessão serão o Ricardo Gonçalves e a Sara Rocha, ambos a colaborar com o Peter Bampton no desenvolvimento do projecto em construção Evolusa, um documentário sobre Portugal e os portugueses e que procura abrir um questionamento colectivo sobre as qualidades e potencialidades do carácter dos portugueses e abrir horizontes sobre os futuros possíveis.

Andrea on October 6th, 2014

Lots of people on site this week including some new volunteers, and plenty going on as usual. But the focus has really been on the grape harvest, with foot stomping the grapes being a popular activity. The first batch of wine has now started it’s secondary fermentation, and another batch is on the way. Grapes intended for jeropiga will follow next.

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Left to right, up to down:

1) Orelhas our little Billy goat has been very sick but is thankfully back on his feet again. He’s very thin and weak still, so he’s getting extra walks. The recent rain means there’s suddenly green growth sprouting all over.

2) The veg garden is producing wonderfully and we’re eating well. The potatoes are now out, and it seems that each day the patch is less green. Here Josh rakes over what were the potato beds ready for a new planting.

3) Mushroom season!

4) Krisztián took over where David left off. We’re still working on clearing and flattening a patch for the new dog shed.

5) Hmmm … work comes in all sorts of guises. Minea works on removing Charlie’s dreads by torchlight.

6) Josh and Charlie harvesting grapes in the village.

7) Katinka doing likewise.

8) Kate and Laurence appear to have found something scary in the bottom of the grape squishing vat.

9) Josh shows them how it’s really done.

10) Hey ho, hey ho!


The post Our Week in Pictures: 6th October 2014 appeared first on Casalinho.