Successful Natural Building Course

Last week Barbara taught another of her marvellous 8 day Natural Building Courses, at Keela Yoga Farm. The participants were an international bunch from South Africa, Portugal, UK, Italy and Holland. The team learned a variety of techniques and quickly got the chance to get their hands dirty and practice their new knowledge! Straw bale, wattle and daub, cord wood – earth plastering, just some of the variety of skills they learned!

Some of the photos below are from one of the participants – Damien Walsh, the others from Barbara’s phone, so the quality is not the best, but you get the picture (pardon the pun!)

and they sum up the fun, as well as the work that group practiced.

On the day off, mid way through the course, the group came to Mount of Oaks. We prepared a meal, and Barbara gave a tour of our natural buildings. A great way to relax.

I was grateful for the help from Tatum and the girls in preparing for the guests!!

Alexa, Sven, Stephan, John, Damian, Clara and Ugo. WELL DONE!!!!!! We look forward to seeing what you will do with what you gained on this course! Please stay in touch!

Special thanks to Kimberly and Laurence their super hosting at Keela, and for their fantastic volunteers!! The pizza night on the final night was really special.

News and Dates for Natural Building Courses taught by Barbara will be shared in the Autumn.

Summer Gathering

We had a most fun Summer Gathering! If only the pictures could convey the amazing smells of the delicious grilled veggies, or the laughs as we danced and later played music – or making of new friendships and renewing older ones….

Our programme was pretty simple – eat together, play music together and dance together, thanks to our dear friend Ana Teresa teaching us some traditional Portuguese dances!

Eric worked out that we were over 45 adults and 15 kids – and representing approximately 9 different nationalities. Truly a beautiful mix of ages and backgrounds living in the area!

Special thanks go to Helen, a volunteer who was with us for 6 weeks this summer – she was such a help in every way. Her bubbly personality and over flowing youthful joy made her a joy to work with and to be around.

Many thanks too to Keri Millard who took the action shots that follow – it is one of her passions and professions. She caught many of us in blissful moments…



Thank you for all of you who came along and supported the project by your presence and your generosity of heart. Recently we read a quote – ‘some of the best memories are made in flip flops’. It made me think of this night and several of us making fools of ourselves and having a right old laugh while dancing in flip flops!

Until the next time…..






New Moon-‘Seed Cycling’ Workshop

We were utterly blessed to have the wonderous Dearbhla Reynolds leading a super workshop on the powers of syncing the woman’s moon cycle with benefical gut cleansing foods and seeds.

The preparation of a kombucha based tonic drink, a recipe of Dearbhla’s called ‘Madam Tonic’ took place in the Mount of Oaks kitchen the previous day – to give time for the herbs and fruits to infuse and do their magic.

And then as the workshop began, all the ladies present got a shot of the good stuff!!

In total we were 21 ladies of different ages and stages of life. The information that Dearbhla shared applied to us all because whether we are pre or post menopausal all women have a cycle that can link with the moon.

When it came to attending to our gut health, eating foods, especially seeds, in seasons to help the balancing of hormones seemed to make so much sense.

Within the circle of women there were folks with all sorts of knowledge of health and healing, those with issues that Dearbhla addressed, and many of us keen to have more harmonious cycles.

Half way through we paused for a delicious dinner, inspired by the theme of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – foods to eat at different times in our monthly cycle. Before heading for food, we tried one of Dearbhla’s ‘Digestive Bitters’ – a squirt into the mouth to get the gut going even before food enters!!

And afterwards, we heard from each person something of their experiences. Thank you so all who attended and for our special Irish guest. For me personally, the evening ended with a sense of great empowerment. Knowing that there are simple changes that can be made to diet and weekly practices that means I can flow with my inner rhythm for the benefit of me and others around me!

For details of the work that Dearbhla does, check out ‘The Cultured Club’ where you can find recipes, and a link to her book ‘Funky Ferments’.

In Autumn we will host more fermentation workshops, keep an eye out for dates!

Kombucha with Rose

Last week we had Rose Chandler come and host a morning dedicated to Kombucha and her sister Honey Jun, both healthy probiotic drinks that are good for your microbiomea.


We were a small but enthusiastic group, all keen to know more about the gut benefits of these drinks and how to flavour them with fruits and teas.

We began with the basics of learning about scobies and we even touched and tasted one! Looks pretty disgusting, but it was surprisingly not soooo weird afterall!

Rose explained how scobies also benefit the skin, so we took the chance to wipe our faces!! FUN!

Fun and bubbles all over the place as we taste tested brews from at different stages of fermentation (F1, F2, F3)….. Like the fizz in this bottle – Rose was really enthusiastic about the brews – that was passed to us!

Rose instructed us about Batch versus Continous Brew Techniniques and we tried A LOT of different drinks. On a personal level, it was enlightening to learn about making herbal kombucha bases – using our own herbal tea mixes!

Well done Rose ! Thank you for your passion for the delicious drinks you make.

One of my main take aways from the morning was Rose’s description of kombucha (which I really love to drink daily!), she said, ‘kombucha is like a liquid hug for the gut’ That sounds great!

To contact Rose to buy some of her Honey Jun or Kombucha, she is part of the BioEco association and comes to the local markets in Alpedrinha and Covilha.


Soap Successes

Marcia and Eric recently gave two soap making workshops in Fundao and at Keela Yoga Farm. Both were well attended and empowering and fun experiences!

The participants of the Fundao workshop were mostly Portuguese, but with the wonderful Italian Rosso adding flavour and humour!!

For part of the workshop when lye is mixed with water, Eric takes the group outside ….

It was the first time that Barbara and I looked after Sammy for a full afternoon and we were loving the chance to play with the lad! We had him outside for most of the day, in the woods, eating tangerines and even playing with the steering wheel of our bus!!

Anyway, back to soap making….. At Keela Yoga Farm a group of folks taking part in the month long Food Forest Course, and our lovely neighbours Mel and Paul loved experimenting with the different smells and textures of soap…

The two most popular recipes were orange and cinnamon, and spirulina with  lemonbalm. Both were vibrant colours and smell amazing!!

For those who would like to take part in the next workshop to learn how to make natural soap, the next one will be at Mount of Oaks on 26th May.

For further details on what exactly you will learn, follow this link!

It is great to be able to be empowered to wash with soap you made yourself!!!