Iemke Postma: Student and Entrepreneur

This week I had my Financial Accounting exam. It didn’t go as planned. I stopped revision as I got to chapter 8 and skimmed through the rest of the material. Chapter 8 was actually quite significant, and is where I lost some valuable points. I’ve already registered for the re-sit but that means that Supply Chain Management is also becoming more and more unlikely for me to pass this year. I want to get Financial Accounting at least out of the way, and that shouldn’t really be a problem since I have more time now and already studied over half the material. I’m personally quite relaxed about the whole situation although I admit I was feeling kind of under the weather when I checked my results for Financial Accounting. I’m happy about my current life situation however, partly studying, partly volunteering, partly doing odd-jobs and maybe a longboard competition tomorrow. We’ll see. Now is really my time to experiment and try out different opportunities that are available to me… and there’s a lot coming my way.

Seedsavers NL is moving forwards. We’re planning to hold our first workshops in September so that leaves us time to experiment and market our product in the summer. We’re going to set up a bank account next week for the organization, so hopefully our first forms of revenue will also be soon to follow. Currently being enrolled in the Geoff Lawton Online PDC (Permaculture Design Course), is also giving me a lot of knowledge about Permaculture and the theoretical underpinnings behind sustainable, permanent agriculture. Hopefully I’ll be able to teach an introductory version soon to people willing to dive into this world and perhaps also start to develop a new plot of land we might potentially be able to get in Spaarnwoude.

The ACTA garden is getting more of my attention now as well. I passed by on Wednesday since I had multiple meetings around Amsterdam and coincidentally met Anke who was tasked to keep an eye on the bees since they were about to split up their population according to our expert beekeeper, Maurice. Me and Anke were about to do some compost turning when Anke decided to check on the bees a final time to determine their activity, then excitedly called my name to come look.

I went over to the bee hives and at first, I didn’t think anything special was happening, but then saw them become more and more active, especially in a cloud form outside of the hive. We grabbed some chairs and just sat there with front seats to the show.

Me posing with the swarming bees

I started noticing patterning within the bees collective flight patterns (sacred geometry?), and noticed them moving towards a certain direction eventually spotting where they were landing. They started bunching up and creating their new colony on a branch in one of the tallest trees in our garden. That was problematic according to our beekeeping team, and they likely wouldn’t survive the winter if we didn’t find a way to capture the new colony and put them in one of our artificial hives. We made a failed attempt trying to capture them, as when I left, one of the carpenters at ACTA with some climbing skills tried to shake the colony loose but couldn’t get close enough to drop the queen. Bees don’t sting when their bunching up like this after a colony split because they’re all carrying honey, and they don’t want to risk losing valuable cargo.

There’s a lot of activity happening at ACTA. It sometimes a bit de-motivating to see some plants not growing the way you want them to (the 3 sister garden for example- we’re likely going to need more sun), but I’m hanging in there. We actually had quite a good harvest yesterday with lots of beans and peas, and also some salad and other things. I’m really looking forward to having chickens and eggs however which is one of the things I’m trying to coordinate… coincidentally I met someone who lives in the building and passed by the garden who has contacts of an organization that is getting rid of their chickens soon, but don’t have a solid plan… I told him to get those chickens to ACTA, so we’re working on that.

That night was also the first night I slept at the garden (in a tent). I was slightly nervous about it. I’d already pitched my tent a week before to see what would happen and if it would get vandalized and also to test general reactions from people. Only the gardeners who really go in the back of the woods knew it was there and commented on it, but even Annet (who is our community leader) didn’t even know it was there because it’s quite well camouflaged with its light green color. I made another tent out of some tarp that was lying around in the corner of our property and I got a lot of questions about that, and if someone was going to live there… but I partly made that tent specifically as a distraction from my actual sleeping place which seemed to work.

The camouflaged tent can still use a little more shelter in my opinion though. I’d like to create a hugelbed behind it to cover its existence from the public road. At the moment, the space between is quite overgrown with vegetation so it’s not too bad, but it still feels pretty bare, especially when the plants start clearing. A bit more security wouldn’t hurt. Also, I was a bit paranoid about students living in the building noticing I was there and deciding to take action against it… which I actually had a dream about as well (they put my tent on the back of a pick-up truck and drove to the middle of an open air party… interesting dream!). The students were kind of loud since they had the window open to their communal area, and playing some ghetto music. It was hard to sleep in the beginning, and I kept checking outside every now and then for activity since it was hard to tell where voices were coming from. Building a hugel bed bunker would perhaps also help with deflecting sound. Eventually I got to sleep, and slept pretty reasonably until I got out at 7:30am.

I got dressed, made some breakfast from the leftover harvest yesterday and some eggs I bought at the supermarket the day before as well, and headed to a café in the neighborhood to get some coffee and write on my laptop. Which is where I am now. I have to go to a paint job soon so I’m going to leave my story at this for now. Later!

Later…

The paint job was actually pretty sweet. It’s actually a tricky job because you have to be very precise about the edges, and careful about not getting paint all over the place (which is sometimes hard to avoid). I got paid relatively well, and had some good benefits throughout my work. I then skated my way to Diemen although stopped at a friend’s workplace to check out the rooftop garden she made there. To be honest, I think 300 euros could’ve been invested much better (since that’s what it cost for about 4m2 of space they gardenized), but I guess the shop is making good margins. I went home after chilling around in Amsterdam with nice weather, and set my mind on the skating competition the next day.

I’m writing this coming back from that competition. It was a bit of a hassle getting there, as I made some mistakes with train transfers. I still arrived in time for registrations and have a chat with my fellow contestants. Everything was running a bit late anyway. The first race was a 500meter sprint. It’s a bit annoying in the beginning as sometimes people get in the way of each other, but you just gotta keep pushing and beat them out on the straight. I came in second for this event. The major event was the half marathon skate (21.3km) where I had a time of 51mins:16secs:18millisecs… looking at time, I would’ve been 2nd but because I was competing in a different class than the fastest raw time guy, I came in first in my classment! Hooray…! This meant that I got a free deck as a prize which is pretty sweet 😛


1st Place Amateur Men’s Class

I spent about €18 on public transport to make the journey and €10 for a participation fee and again, got a pretty good return on investment with prizes such as a shirt, a hat, a pair of sunglasses, a pair of Sanuk Sandals, and of course the carbon fiber drop down deck by Santoso Boards. It’s really light. Now I just need to win myself a pair of new trucks and wheels and I’m all set 😉


Cool prizes!

I’m pretty knackered right now so I’m going to take it easy. See you next week!

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