Photos and updates from 2019

We have had a very busy year on the farm with more than 100 volunteers, many courses and retreats. We have started some new permaculture systems, continued in the food forests and with our reforestation project and the natural building projects. Here is an update on some of our current projects for those not following us on facebook or Instagram. 

  1. The Long Drop Vermiculture Compost Toilet

Long Drop Vermiculture Compost Toilet
The long drop vermiculture compost toilet that uses worms to eat through the humanure creating lots of composting worms and worm castings. This is now complete and in use. Thank you to everyone who participated in this over the last year.

2. Wine making

We have made our first wine. We have 150 litres of wine in a stainless steel container. Thanks to Kiko for his guidance and expertise!

3. Permaculture gardens

We have had a good year in the garden from our three sisters, sunken beds, wood chip beds and food forests. Now we are expanding the wood chip beds and creating new hugelkultur beds.

3. Strawbale greenhouse with compost heated shower

Straw Bale Greenhouse
The walls in the greenhouse are made of well-insulated straw bales to block the wind and hold the temperature inside. We will be putting a solid plastic roof and creating a shower inside that is heated with a compost pile. We plan to have more of a tropical greenhouse with this system. Visit us this Autumn to help finish this project.

4. New community kitchen

The new kitchen in the straw bale house is now in use. We have a cordwood kitchen bench/serving bar and a wattle and daub pantry. We reused a donated kitchen complete with an electric solar-powered oven donated by Helen and David Slack, and we have plenty of space for fresh vegetables from the garden.

4. WWOOF 10th Birthday party

We hosted the 10th birthday for WWOOF Portugal in our new community area where hosts and volunteers met up to attend workshops on organic gardening, fermenting, dance and a discussion about hosting volunteers and the future of the WWOOF Portugal organisation. We recommend using WWOOF Portugal if you would like to host volunteers as your volunteers will be insured.

5. A continuous flow of fresh vegetables from the gardens

Food coming in from the garden every day.

6. Community house and dining rooms

The new dining room is in use with homemade windows, doors and tables.

6. Pizza parties

pizza parties
We have regular pizza parties on the last day with each group. We make our pizza dough (which is getting better and better due to the advice we get from lovely Italian friends!), choose our toppings and Laurence cooks them in our stone pizza oven.

7. Natural building course and internship

We ran a natural building course lead by Barbara from Mount of Oaks in which we worked on the straw bale community house, the long drop compost toilet and the straw bale greenhouse.

8. Food Forest Course

We increased the size of our chicken food forest during a one-month food forest course In April complete with a new chicken house for the chicken system. The chicken system has two food forests for the chickens to rotate between. They also have ally crops to grow grains for sprouting to feed the chickens and a compost building area which will be their chicken run. Here they will process compost for us. The kitchen greywater goes straight to the chicken run as chickens love this. We have more food forest courses this year, please see the website for dates.

9. Back to Eden wood chip beds

Our wood chip beds are always expanding, we plan to have half of our winter garden with these wood chip beds that reduce weeds and hold onto moisture. Click here for more info on these beds

10. Over 100 guests in 2019

A trip out to the local village, these guys hitched a ride to the end of the track 🙂

11. Yoga Retreats with permaculture

Eco Yoga Retreat Portugal
Eco Yoga Retreats with Anya Kinneavy who has hosted four yoga retreats with us, with many returning guests. Each retreat features daily yoga and meditation, and options for permaculture, gardening, fermenting and soap making workshops or, just chill out time. Click here for info on 2020 retreats

12. Fermenting

Fermenting workshops
Kimberly loves fermenting anything she can and is teaching regular fermenting workshops to our guests. Come and enjoy daily fermented food which is good for the gut and learn how to ferment at home.

13. Soap Making

We are now making our own soaps and showing guests how to do so in workshops.

14. Wooden spoons and carving

My first wooden spoons made whilst waiting for the pizza oven to heat up on pizza night

15. Garlic harvest

A huge garlic harvest. We are growing most things but with certain foods, we are aiming for complete self-sufficiency

16. Chicken house and closed-loop chicken system

chicken house and chicken system
The new chicken house for the chicken system made from granite stones, mimosa and eucalyptus, and clay, all sourced from our land.

17. The stone circle

Our stone circle in use during Sudhir’s meditation retreat.

18. The Solar shower

The outside solar shower is looking greener with the trees and shrubs it waters growing around it to make it more private (photo from a guests Instagram page)

19. Meditation and Yoga Philosophy retreat

Our yoga teacher from India, Sudhir Rishi came for a visit and ran a meditation and philosophy retreat. Click here for info on next years retreat

20. Beehives

We chose not to add additional food in the summer for a more natural honey

21. Life’s a beach

Shaded area by the new community building.

22. Swales and ditches

We dug many swales by hand and also several kilometres of swales with a tractor. These hold water uphill to slowly soak into the land. We also dug out ditches by the tracks to catch water and move it into our pond that was created to harvest clay for building our houses.

23. Sunrises, sunsets and the night sky

One Tree Hill is perfect for watching the sunrise and sunset, or for chilling with a book in the hammock and enjoying the views

24. Our first meat chickens

Chicken tractor

We moved the chicken tractor daily with some chickens being reared for meat. They cleared the weeds, ate the bugs and then we had our first meat chicken which we shared at a party. In the end, we found it easier to put an electric fence around a bigger area and move the tractor and fence every week instead of the tractor once per day. It was less work moving and they had more space to run. We will continue to do this periodically to have chickens help prepare beds for us.

25. Continued learning – Carpentry, Electrics, Plumbing, Natural Building

When we moved here in January 2017 I had never done any carpentry, electrics or building. This year I have become more confident with all the tools and made window and door frames, large tables, two straw bale buildings, installed a roof and completed the electrics and plumbing on the new house. Anyone can do this with commitment, the help of friends and of course Youtube!

26. The Sheep

bio char and sheep
Here I am adding bio-char to the floor of the sheep pen, for the sheep to trample down and activate through their waste. Then when we take the manure from here it already has activated bio-char for the gardens. We do the same in all compost piles and our chicken houses.

27. Party area

Party area
The new community house gives us space to have even better parties. This is DJ Kiko 🙂

28. Art work

My auntie came for a week and created art all over the farm

29. Detailed map of the land

keela yoga farm
There is a detailed map of the land drawn by our friend Kirsty over a few visits. She makes maps for a living and painted our whole land on the side of a container. Thanks Kirsty, now we won’t get lost 😉

30. Reforestation

Trees for reforestation
This is one of 5 trailers of trees that we planted in the winter.

31. Water heated by a compost pile

We experimented with a method to heat hot water with compost, it only worked for about a month so we need to use what we learnt to make a better one next year that lasts for a year.

32. Homemade cheese

We have been making haloumi, paneer and ricotta from our neighbour’s sheep milk which have been a huge hit with guests and neighbours!

33. Vermiculture flushing Toilet

vermiculture flushing toilet
We have built our first septic tank managed with worms. This is for a flushing toilet that uses worms to eat the human manure. You can read more about the process here:

34. Garlic forever

Last year we thought we grew enough garlic for the year (400 bulbs) but we just use too much. This year we have planted more than 1000 around the food forests and horta. If this is enough for us to use and save enough to plan for next year then we will never need to buy garlic again! The power of gardening.

35. 12 types of chillies

We grew 12 types of chillies, including the Carolina Reaper, the hottest chilli in the world. We have made a variety of chilli sauces, chilli flakes and powder. Next year we plan to start selling chilli related products at local markets including seeds and seedlings.

36. A roof over the eco-container accommodation

We built a new roof over one of our accommodations to give it more shade and some outside space. We plan to do this to all of our caravans in the future.

37. Double page spread in the local newspaper

Double page spread in the Jornal do Fundão, our local newspaper!

38. New hugelkultur bed

Sunken hugelkultur bed
Joel made a wonderful large hugelkultur bed. He dug down 30cm, buried logs, twigs and leaves and covered over two square metres with homemade compost. The sunken hugelkultur bed will hold more water and release nutrients over time. We have radishes in there now and in spring will plant it into a salad garden.

39. Yoga classes and retreats with Kimberly

Kimberly has been teaching yoga for over 4 years and apart from running retreats at the farm and running daily classes for volunteers and interns, she has recently started up weekly drop-in classes in the local town hall of Vale De Prazeres. Click here for more information on her Post Boom Festival Retreat in August 2020 and here for weekly classes.

40. Harvesting Herbs

Drying Herbs
We have had a big winter saving herbs for tea, cooking and well being.

Check out more photos:

  1. Our Instagram photos
  2. Our Facebook photos
  3. Instagram photos at keelayoga farm
  4. Instagram hashtag photos at keela yoga farm

Want to visit us? Join us on a yoga retreat or a food forest course, or join for a longer period as an intern or as a volunteer.

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