Spring WorkWeek 2022

Our first work week ended a week ago. What an amazing week it has been. Full of community spirit, lots of work on the farm, great vegetarian meals, an all-night party including a rendition of ABBA’s Waterloo … and so much more…

If you are interested in joining the next WorkWeeks, the dates can be found here. Or if you want to stay/volunteer at the Quinta, see the details in the Volunteering / Working section on the Visiting the Quinta Project page here.

We started the week on Sunday with a welcome tour around the main part of the land of the Quinta Project. Everyone could familiarise themselves with the land and draw inspiration for what they wanted to bring to the workweek. 

After the tour, we all had dinner outside on the terrace in front of the community house, right under the big laurel tree and with a view of the illuminated Castle of Marvão. As it was the first night, everyone was off to bed early, to join us again on the first day.

During the week, all days followed a similar pattern: Everyone met for breakfast at 8am on the terrace. During breakfast, we briefly discussed which projects people wanted to take part in during the day, and who was working with whom. 

At 1pm we all had lunch, followed by some time to explore the land, have a snooze, go off to see some of the local sights or do some more work around the Quinta. 

At 4pm we gathered again for some cake or sweets and coffee, and sometimes visitors joined us at that time for the afternoon. 

Visitors during the week included Heidi from Little Seed Revolution. Heidi offered a workshop on sensually connecting to the land and plants around the Quinta. We had a group from the gay hiking group of Extremadura visit and take a tour and find out more about queer community living and Allan, who runs a regenerative farm project close by, brought us some of their award-winning olive oil and honey.

Around 7pm we had our dinner, mostly on the terrace, or sometimes in the main room at the community house. Before playing games, lots of crochet and having some interesting chats – either outside, or in front of the fireplace. In fact, the crocheting group grew a lot during the week, which meant lots of great needlework was happening!

The food itself was a good reason to take part in the Work Week: every day a group of two took over the kitchen and created a dazzling amount of delicious, imaginatively cooked and lovingly presented foods. With inspirations as diverse as our group, we had Chow Chow and Thai-style red cabbage salads, fluffy vanilla cakes with lime, chocolatey Hippie Balls, green curry, rainbow fruits and pancakes, crumbles, Quinta orange bread… and so much more! Each day was a different delight. 

On Saturday, we officially closed the working part of the week. Although the weather forecast was mixed, some of us joined in with the “Senderismo Gay de Extremadura” group who had offered a hike in the surroundings of the Quinta. That was a great opportunity to explore more of the area. The hike included some often overlooked local treasures, such as long-forgotten kilns and a quarry. And, of course, it was a great opportunity for us to socialise with our neighbours from the other side of the Raya, as the border is called here. 

On Saturday evening after dinner, everyone invaded the drag room, and with the help of Lazuli was fitted with an appropriate outfit for the night. What followed was a night of dancing, impromptu renditions of cheesy songs and a lot of fun until the last person went to bed… at 5 am! 

Sunday morning was a more relaxed affair: Brunch on the terrace followed by a walk around the Quinta to visit all the projects together – and see what people created during the week. 

And so here is an incomplete list of the many fabulous small and large projects that happened during the week:

The irrigation system now reaches (almost) as far as the vegetable garden. Once the parts needed to fully connect it are here, we can connect it directly to the vegetable beds!

There are now clearly marked paths around the community house! Hopefully, we can expand them in the future to cover more parts of the Quinta.

Not only do we now have a big greenhouse-like polytunnel – our poly also comes with fairy lights, climbing plants at the entrance, a frog pond and seedling table made from a park bench.

Previously our waterfall and the natural pool were very difficult to access… but now there is a path leading there, the river crossing is easy now and there are even signs in case you get lost! 

There was also a lot of plastic and other rubbish blocking the stream’s path to the waterfall. All this is now cleared and disposed of! No plastic in our water, thanks!

The stream crossing also means you can now get to the other side of the stream fairly easily. If you make it to the highest part of the Quinta you have a spectacular view of the community house, the ruin and the gatehouse.

We now have an ingenious water system that avoids drains clogging up with leaves, which was a major hassle before.

We burnt a massive backlog of agricultural waste from land clearing, thanks to our Guardian of the Fire and our Fire Dominatrix!

We have a brand new asparagus bed, several beds planted with heirloom potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, and strawberries. And the beds now have a stone border – and are mulched!

The second floor of the community house was totally cleaned, cleared and everything sorted. To try to describe this mammoth task is impossible. But it took five trips to the rubbish tip/recycling station to clear most of it (it’s not yet all cleared!).

The kitchen was deep cleaned and totally reorganised. We can now actually find that miso… in the box labelled miso!

We have the most fabulous scarecrow this side of dragville. With tinsel hair (recovered from the second floor) and watching out over Sue’s vegetable garden. 

Some of our trees now have crocheted “coats”. And are guiding you the way towards the future “Poets Corner”. 

… speaking of Poets corner, we now have new books in the Quinta Library. And even a spectacular painting of the Quinta itself. Complete with our resident love-everyone dog Lady.

Young plants we planted around the Quinta have been made “sheep-secure”, with our shepherd chipping in and showing us how to do it!

We have a spectacular blackboard to communicate and leave important messages for visitors to the community house!

… And we now have a great figurine to watch out over us, upcycled from a box of random Christmas decorations recovered from the second floor. Blue hair, tattoos and accompanied by two sheep: one with pink and the other with golden glitter sheepskin. 

… and there is probably a lot more.

PS: don’t forget, the next WorkWeek is just a few weeks away!