This week we had such an amazing experience. Our first family came to stay on a working holiday and it went really well, apart from a few little issues that were learning experiences for us for the future.

The Harrison family arrived and we guided them over the phone up to our track and then we quickly realised that it was going to be a struggle getting their 2m10cm wide van through the narrow bit of track just before our farm starts! This thankfully was the only major problem we had all week and after taking the best part of an hour to squeeze it through that first day, we all decided it was better for them to park it down the track the next day. This wasn’t perfect for them but it was good to know for future visitors that we have a width limit!

The project was for them to come and help design and build an outside toilet and shower block so that we can start taking visitors more in the future. We had sourced a few recycled materials and had an idea of the build (from Pinterest of course) but then we spent the first day planning and discussing it as, with us not being expert builders we needed help with this part.

The second day we all (both families) went off to the local city for a day out to get all the other materials we needed so that we could crack on with the build the next day. We of course wanted our guest to enjoy their time and experience some local places too so we took them to our favourite veggie restaurant.

After a slow and chilled first few days our lovely visitor family were so keen to get going on the build on the third day, I felt like we had just been sent a family of angels come to help us! They worked so hard on getting the build started and Alice helped me to tidy and sort my house out (much needed!). All the boys, both theirs and ours were getting involved in planning, measuring, sawing, lifting and carrying. It was great seeing them so enthusiastic and happy about being involved in making something real.

On the Fourth day the structure was up and it was time to try and get the roof on. We had collected some old traditional Portuguese orange roof tiles from someone locally and had our heart set on those but after putting them on the roof realised that maybe the structure wasn’t strong enough to hold them so we all decided it was best to use some of our corrugated iron instead and not risk death by roof tile in the shower cubicle! In the afternoon I made sure the Harrisons went off to a beautiful local village of Monsanto to check it out and to have some family time together – they all had to prize Tom away as he was so into getting the build right!

Day Five and their last day with us we all started early to get as much of the rest of it done as possible. After using some of the corrugated iron we used on the roof that we were going to use for the walls we had to get creative with the wall building and work out what we had left. We decided to break up some pallets and make a kind of shower cubicle with old pallet wood. Then the rest of the walls would be corrugated iron. We moved the compost toilet we had in our house into it’s new home and Tom and Alice made some doors. All while the boys, who had enough of the hard work, climbed the rocks and made a den right on top!

We didn’t quite finish all the walls and hope to source some more materials to finish it in the coming weeks, but so far it is looking fab. A rustic, recycled Harrison Hygeine hut!

It was so great having this amazingly inspiring, hard working and friendly family here. We all worked together as a great team, ate all our meals together, played together, worked together, talked, laughed and then in the end came out with a fab new structure and I think they also felt like they had a great adventure/ experience and saw the local area a bit too. They have also shared their family story which you can read on another post here >>

Here’s to new experiences for the kids to learn, new structures on the quinta and new friends 🙂