Planting trees in the summer is never ideal but sometimes we just need or want to do it. Ideally, we plant trees bare-rooted trees in Automne (or spring for more frost-sensitive trees). However, we have moved big olive trees and planted potted trees in the summer and this week we planted 21 and this is how we do it.
A lot of homesteaders chuck away the sheepskins when the process lambs and so this is a wonderful free resource that anyone can get and turn into a high-quality natural rug. We have been making them for a few years now and are perfecting the method so I thought I would write a blog post to share on how to make a sheepskin rug. more “How to make a sheep skin rug – Easy and quick way”
List of different Natural Building Techniques that can be used in a Natural Building.
Here are our principles for natural building.
If you would like to start or continue your Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design with the Permaculture Association you may do this at Keela Yoga Farm. We have opportunities as Teaching apprenticeships, teaching assistants and design work experience at our Permaculture Farm with Tom Henfrey, the only official registered Diploma teacher in Portugal.
Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design
We would like to introduce Thomas Henfrey. Tom is a co-teacher at Keela Yoga Farm’s Permaculture Design Courses. He is the only certified Permaculture Diploma tutor in Portugal. He is an author of various permaculture and ecology books and has 20 years of experience in Permaculture and Ecology. more “Thomas Henfrey – Permaculture Design Educator”
We have been through the process to get a licence for sheep and register sheep in our area of Fundao in Portugal and should apply to any area in Portugal I thought I would type up the information to share as it was quite confusing for us and would like to make it easier for you.
This information may or may not be correct but the steps we took as we understood them.
Why register your sheep in Portugal
- It is the law to register your sheep and have annual checks from the vet. This is to control the spread of diseases specific to areas of Portugal.
- Subsidies. Due to the low price of milk and meat, it costs traditional farmers more to raise sheep than the income, to compensate for this the EU Pay subsidies to you for having sheep and maintaining the land to grow food for them. You get more or less 19 EUR per sheep plus up to 150 EUR per hectare of land that is used to grow grass to feed them. See more info below
- It easy to get a licence for your land and register your sheep but will cost you 11 EUR
Guys don’t be over =whelmed about the whole thing, just do step 1 below. once that is done the guys there will probably help you do step 2, but you can always refer back here if you need. Once your registered you can then manage everything online.
1. Register your land for Sheep
- Get a ‘Titulo Registo de Exploração’ (basically a licence for your land to have sheep) from your local Agriculture office attached to the camera. Known as Associação Florestal do Interior (AFIN). in Fundao this is on the 1st floor in the building behind the tribunal. tel. 275 753467 p.s. it is upstairs.
- You have to go AFIN with all your documents: residence certificate, ID, NIF and proof you own land and apply. They will give you your application document for ‘Titulo Registo de Exploração‘.
- You wait a couple of weeks for this to go through and they will call you then you go back to AFIN with your document and they will give you a new stamped document in exchange for a fee (It was 11 EUR for me), then you have a licence for your land.
2. Register with the Vets
- To be clear there is the vet office for admin for all vets and there is the vet that looks after animal heath. you need to register with both.
- You then need to register with the vet office so that you get set up with a Sanitary classification in PISA NET which is the online portal for selling/buying sheep. The guys at AFIN will guide you through this. In Fundao the administration department for the vets is in the same building.
- You then need to register with a vet, again your local AFIN can let you know the local one. It is an agriculture vet admin office, not a pet vet agriculture vet that treats animals.
3. Buying the sheep
- First, you must be registered and have your Marca de Exploracao, you get this by registering your land for sheep
- I don’t think you can buy unregistered sheep, you must buy sheep that already are registered with a chip
- The seller will transfer the sheep to you via the PISA NET online portal and then you will receive a paper document (and sheep) from the seller
- You then need to confirm the purchase by taking this document to the vet administration office in the agriculture part of the camera. (same place you got your Sanitary classification from)
- You will then be able to see your sheep in the IFAP portal under area reservada > o meu processor > animals > consults > then select todos do animals in the drop-down menu.
- I don’t think you can buy unregistered sheep, you must buy sheep that already are registered with a chip
4. Receiving Subsidies
- You need 10 ewes that are at least 1 year of age by 31st January of the year you are claiming subsidies to claim subsidies for sheep or pasture
- You will need to register the number of sheep you have by the 31st January in the IFAP portal
- You get around EUR 17-19 per sheep
- You get around EUR 50-150 per hectare of land for pasture (i guess this really depends)
- You have to apply for subsidies in Spring at AFIN, this used to be in person but they do it remotely during covid times.
- You receive some money in July, November and in December
- You only receive money if your land is used for pasture and not full of brush and they check this via google maps
- If you have cleared land since the last google maps image then you will need to have them visit to take photos or upload photo via the IFAP mobile app
5. Vet visits
- Your vet will visit twice per year and he:
- Registers new lambs that you want to raise and provides them with an electronic tag and ear tag
- Replaces any missing ear tags
- Gives the required vaccinations for any diseases that are in your area
- Takes annual blood samples for various deseases
6. Selling lambs
- You need a licence to slaughter/butcher lambs to sell meat so there are agents that buy and collect lambs from you alive
- You can register yourself as a live lamb seller at the finances office. Just ask for an activity to be a farmer (actividad agricultura) and register to sell lambs, there is no cost here
- You can sell lambs to lamb agents for various prices depending on the year or season. Could be EUR 35 to €70
- You will always get more for a lamb at Easter or Christmas
- You will need to provide an invoice (factura) when you sell a lamb to the dealer and also put an ear tag on the lamb
7. Sheep first aid kit
Some of the things we have needed so far as a vet does not just come out when you need them. Of course, our list is growing over time as different issues come up. Note this is based on info from our sheep vet and not online from problems people have in USA or UK !
- Phone number of someone who knows more than you nearby that can help
- Vet’s number
- B vitamin complex from agriculture shop. Nearly every time I have had a sick sheep it has been because of B1 deficiency so I now just keep B complex in stock and give it a preventative now and again.
- Flea/tick/mite treatments. this can come up so always good to have it to hand
- Antibiotics and injection syringes in case of an infection or big problem. Get this from an agriculture vet
- Eye cream in the case or hay in the eye. Get this from an agriculture vet or use a human one from the pharmacy
- Neem oil to get rid of flies around a cut
- Spray for maggots in case they get maggots living in a cut. Buy from, any agricultural store
- Oxygenated water for a cut. Pharmacy
- Spray for cuts if it isn’t healing. Buy from, any agricultural store
- Collustrum in case lamb is born and has no mother for milk. You need to get this from another sheep and freexe it. You can also make it with eggs etc but the real thing is better.
- Milk bottle & Powdered milk in case lamb is born and has no mother for milk. Buy from, any agricultural store
- Vecoxan for young lambs prevents a common disease in lambs. (our vet advised us for this but we don’t have it and never had a problem)
- Dewormers just in case (different brand to the one the vet uses as maybe his one isn’t working on this sheep)
- Probiotics for sheep. any agriculture shop
- Spray paint or a unique collar to mark a sheep in the flock that needs treatment so you can quickly identify him/her
- Nail cutters. currently, we are using gardening shears and rarely have to do this
Sustainable sheep keeping at Keela Yoga Farm
- Quantity of sheep
- Most farmers have more sheep on their land than food available on the land, so they need to buy in extra feed or grow it on other farms and bring it in
- We keep no more sheep than the land can feed them so we do not need to buy food. This means we are in complete control of what they eat
- Natural dewormers occasional
- B Complex
- Crushed garlic added to their water
- Apple cider vinegar added to water
- Various herbs such as wormwood (anti parasites) and oregano added to feeders
- Pumpkin seeds
- Diatomaceous earth in their feeders once per month
- Probiotics are also available for sheep
- Provide mineral blocks for them to lick, I always have one in the field and one in the barn.
- Probiotic mineral block in the barn
- Additional Feed
- Most farmers buy GMO corn, grains and straw to feed their animals and they get some from pasture.
- We will only feed them on pasture from the land and a small number of grains that we grow on-site for the training of the animals. i.e. they will come into the barn when we say as they think there will be food there
- Managing pasture
- Most farmers will plough their land once or twice per year so they can plant corn in the spring and grain in the autumn. They will add chemical fertiliser or sometimes lots of manure from their stables but ploughing degrades land.
- We never plough the land (except fire breaks), we put in swales to capture water and sometimes leave the field to rest and cut the grass. All building soil, offsetting carbon and improving the grass
- Rotating sheep
- Most farmers have large fields which their sheep will roam, they usually go around and around and overgraze
- We are continually adding more fencing to reduce the sizes of fields so that we can rotate sheep around smaller fields so that most of the land is resting at any one time. this means that their favourite foods don’t get killed off from overgrazing
- Rotating also gives time for parasites to die off in fields
- Trees and other forage
- Some farmers are lucky to have some big trees in their fields but generally, they do not add more trees, instead of in other fields there are monocultures of new frees
- We are planting fruit trees for us and also fodder trees that provide food for the sheep in the sheep fields. These trees each get their circular fence to protect them but over time the food intake will increase from things other than grasses, this is especially good in the summer when there is a lot of fruit and leaves but not much green grass.
- A variety of animals
- Most farmers that keep sheep just keep sheep that prefer some types of grasses over others and provide one type of manure
- What we would love to do in the future is rotate various animals through the fields to completely eat everything and leave different manures with chickens breaking it all down at the end, no need for ploughing. We plan to have donkeys, sheep, pigs and chickens work through the fields. But let us first get used to sheep.
Keeping animals are such a joy, especially when you can integrate them into the farm to reduce work load and increase fertility. Not to mention all the food you get. This year we have had so many births of piglets, chicks and lambs and here is a little into and some photos for you. more “Baby animals are so cute – births on the farm”
List of Olive presses in our area. Between Penamacor, Fundao and Castelo Branco Area, please leave comments about the ones you have used or if you know any others.
Gift a tree to your loved ones! A birthday, Father’s day, Christmas present or whatever occasion you like. We will do a personalised video of the tree planting for you to share. more “Buy a tree for a gift”
We planted a chicken food forest two years ago with many species of plants. Fallen fruit and low hanging fruit will be for chickens, middle fruit for us and the highest fruit will be for wildlife.
Eucalyptus trees are bad for the environment and a fire hazard in Portugal. We have killed many areas of Eucalyptus on our farm and we would like to share with you how we kill eucalyptus trees. more “How to Kill Eucalyptus Naturally on Organic farms”
We can show you around the whole farm or focus on certain areas for a private tour and consultation. We will be happy to give you any advice you need and answer any questions you may have. more “Farm tour”
You are welcome to stay and experience our off-grid permaculture farm in Central Portugal. Find out what off-grid living in nature is all about, learn from us how we got started and see some of our permaculture and off-grid systems. more “Offgird eco farm stay Portugal”
A simple gluten-free recipe with Carob and Rice flour, both ingredients readily available in Portugal. I just tried this one day and it is the best gluten-free bread we have made. more “Gluten Free Bread Machine recipe with Carob Flour”
Here is an update on what we have been doing on the farm, information on upcoming yoga retreats and volunteering opportunities, and farm-stay holidays and experiences with us. more “Update from the farm”
We were set to open our doors for guests again in two weeks but last week Portugal went back into a strict lockdown, so we have to close until further notice. more “Closed for guests due to covid restrictions”
We made a youtube video on our morning tasks at Keela so you can see he we start our day. There is nothing better than getting to connect with nature, get some fresh air and connect with animals and plants every morning before breakfast. more “Morning Tasks on a permaculture farm”
This winter we are planting out our newest agroforestry field in multiple stages. A field to integrate fruit crops, reforestation and sheep pasture. This week we planted in 54 fruit trees into the agroforest along swale lines. Have a read about the stages we have completed and what we have left. more “Fruit trees going into the agroforestry field”
In November 2020 we planted our first 13 trees in our new agroforestry system. We have prepared this field over the last year with swales, fencing, cover crops and a pond and now they have 13 cool new trees! This field will have a forest planted that will offset carbon, create habitat for wildlife and provide food, medicine, timber, firewood and hay for animals.
We wrote a three-page article on Sheep Wool Insulation for permaculture magazine. It talks about ways of cleaning and using insulation. More people should be using wool for insulation, this article looks at the effort vs cost saving. We have subscribed to this magazine for a few years and can highly recommend it to you. more “Our first Article in Permaculture Magazine”
This year we have had a bit of rain in September so we started our tree planting early. On top of that we further planted into the layers of our silvopasture plantation.
Thank you to our Permaculture interns for buying trees and planting them. We planted cherries, nectarines and almonds into space that we had in our silvopasture. We also planted cabbages between all the grapevines that were added last winter.
We are lucky to have had our friend Kiko help us make the wine for the past two seasons. Kiko grew up making wine at his father’s winery, studied winemaking and has worked in various wineries. We make wine from organic grapes and nothing is added during the wine-making process and no chemicals to the grapes during the growing for truly organic wine.
This blog details the process and if you live nearby and have grapes you can bring us your grapes next year and we will make your own wine for you in exchange for some of the wine.
During the summer of 2020, we ran a 10-week Natural Building internship where guests joined for 1 week, 1 month or the whole 10 weeks to help build a barn from start to (almost) finish using sustainable building techniques.
There are terms such as ‘natural building’ and ‘low impact building’ but this time around we went for a ‘sustainable build’ that offsets carbon and has a positive impact. We used recycled materials, materials from our land and used a variety of natural building techniques including cordwood, wattle and daub, stone walling and straw bale. more “Photos from the 2020 Natural Building Internship”
During the lockdown, we had 5 guests guaranteed with us for 3 months after they were meant to leave and then we enjoyed the farm to ourselves for a while. For those of you that are not following us on social media for our daily updates, here are some photos of all the things we were up to. We are now open for guests and are running permaculture internships. more “Life During Lockdown”
Sheep are amazing creatures to have on your permaculture farm. For very little input they give us so much in return. They manage our pasture helping to keep our land fire safe, they provide us with income from meat, cheese from their milk and manure for our food forests and growing gardens. more “Cleaning and Using Sheep Wool for Insulation”
We started our new chicken powered compost system one month ago when we finished our new chicken run. The chickens will make us compost whilst producing food for the chickens. This is part of our wider Keela Yoga Farm chicken system.
We have just got two piglets from a friend to help us manage our farm and give us sustainable food. We look forward to learning how to look after pigs and use them as workers in an effort to offset more carbon and produce more food.
The breed of the pigs are half Mangalitsa, half Bisaro and they will live in our pig house for two weeks whilst they get used to us. Our farm is officially called ‘Vale Leitao’ meaning Valley of the Piglet. There were already three stone build pig houses on the land when we purchased it. We had been using one of them as a chicken house until the recent completion of our new chicken house and run, so the pigs are currently in the old chicken house. more “Introducing our pigs”