These are our 5 reasons why we started our homestead. There we go:

The first reason: Space around us

In Holland we had a two store house in a row of houses. The typical Dutch way of living. An 80 m² house with a 30 m² backyard. The front yard not being more than a few square meters. Big windows at the front and at the back. All the same houses in a row and streets full of the same houses.


Holland is packed with people, cars, lights and livestock. In our densely populated country every square inch is used well. Everything is neatly organised. It is a bit gray and boring.

Although the well organised landscape and life in Holland do have their advantages, I think we prefer something more irregular. More wild, more natural. Not so much man made.

The 3.4 ha that we are living on now, in Portugal, gives us space to breath fresh air. The sounds at night are coming from the frogs and the crickets. And from our barking dog that tries to chase the wild bore away. If we want we can fill the silence with our own sounds, bothering nobody.

When we look up into the sky we can see the milky way. When we walk into our valley, we can hear the clear creek at the bottom. Water that is so clean that you can drink it.

It is such a contrast to living in Holland. In Holland, having a piece of land we have now would be impossible. A piece of land of 3.4 ha would not be affordable in the first place. A place with the qualities of being in a natural environment like we have here in Portugal, would not exist.

We just love to have the space around us here down south in Portugal.

The second reason: Home -grown and -produced

Before we left for Portugal to start our homestead we were already gardeners. We enjoyed having our vegetable garden. We also enjoy cooking with our own grown ingredients. The quality of fresh, just picked vegetables is so much better than of those that have been travelling for some time.

Holland is known for its good quality vegetables so it was not so bad. But we could still taste the difference, spoiled as we are.

Here in Portugal we still have our own vegetable garden. It is much bigger than the one in Holland so we have food for the winter too. The growing season is also much longer, so you can have fresh vegetables nearly the year round.

What counts for vegetables also counts for fruit. We love fresh fruit. Growing our own oranges is so incredible. The taste of the oranges in Holland does not even come close to the ones we have here.

Apart from having our own vegetables and fruit, I also enjoy making our own cheese. And we love fresh milk too. Like we have it here you can not have it any fresher.

Third reason: The fun of making your own things

Building your own house, landscaping your terrain is a very creative process. I think it is very exciting to create your own world this way. There is personal growth involved as well, which makes it interesting. There is so much to learn, in a practical way but also in a mental way.

How to deal with the workload; the time frame you have to work in; the many challenges you face. It is never ever boring. It’s a life full of surprises. Some moments you can hate it and other moments you can get passionate about it. So interesting!

The forth reason: Resilience

Having the space around us, being able to produce our own food and build our house and surroundings also gives us the space to be resilient. We will survive an economic world crisis, we did already. It is still not easy, but it is secure. We will never have lack of food.

Surviving natural disasters is a bit of a different story. We just survived one. So far we are good. But we can clearly see that others were less lucky and those others could have been us too.

If we would have lost everything, like many have in our area, it would have been hard to start again. I do not know what we would have done in that case. That would have taken the resilience to the edge for sure. But  we are still here and are lucky.

The fifth reason: Being connected with the elements

Sometimes raw and harsh, like in the case of the wildfires, heat and storms. But so fascinating at the same time. The elements are so close to us in this environment.

To see all the nature around us is fabulous. The trees, the water, the cold, the sun, the silence, the moon and stars. It connects you back to something that is gone in an urban area. Something primordial. Like a basic connection to life itself.

It is overwhelming and magnificent at the same time. The roaring fires are very scary. Then after the fires the green starts growing back almost with the same power. The heat of the summer encloses one almost like a loud sound that suddenly drops silent when the cool winds of the autumn kick in.

Being so much part of natures play is something you have to experience. It is hard to catch in words.

So this is what brought us here and what keeps us here on our homestead. When you like this blog, please feel free to share it. When you want to follow our activities on a daily basis check out our Terra do Milho Facebook and like or follow us.

We hope to see you again on our blog,

Monique and Tom

From: Terra do Milho

Make a difference with you own successful homestead.

Written by Monique Volkers