Letter to Alaina Lockhart (Liberal Elect Fundy Royal)

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Dear Alaina,

I am in your Liberal riding and old enough to have asked Pierre Elliot Trudeau for his lapel rose at a rally at the Chateau Laurier a few decades back now. You see, I’d worked as a youth in his campaign. I recall a couple things about his character that still resonate with me at present. He was a man of the people, for the people and a sound representative for human rights and the Canadian Constitution. He was the Charter of Rights and Freedoms incarnate. He stayed out of our bedrooms and would never have supported insidious Bills like C-51. He did not want our sovereignty occluded by the illusions proffered by a Queen that God had already saved. It was a time for us to swell with autonomy and self-governance. We were a big nation of small population, but we were ready. With Trudeau at the helm, we could trust him as our representative and statesman to move forward into a bright future.

When he looked in my eyes, smiling into my face, that fateful moment, unabashedly proffering his rose to me, I felt a pure love and ethical centre that I’ve known in few people since; let alone in the heart of a politician! He was full of life, a natural born leader. He was opinionated, charismatic, and ballsy, protective and a true Canuck. He shone with knowledge, brilliance, character and discernment; a rare thing indeed in any human being. It is fair to say that I loved him. All of Canada did. In that moment when I gazed into his eyes, I peered into his ethical centre. I waved to him like a friend every time I drove past 24 Sussex.

Conversely, our country has taken a perilous journey since that time. It is true that I abhor big governments. Majorities in the hands of a few make me even more nervous. Since my fateful meetings with P.E. Trudeau, I’ve known few men with the integrity, genius and knowledge of economics that truly represent their people until Ron Paul, the Libertarian, a true historian and economic luminary from Texas of all places! His emergence has completely caught my breath. The concept of auditing the Fed and giving the integral power back to the people and enabling them to drive the economy naturally burgeons my hope. We all know that the debt-based Fiat economy is a sham; an abomination of each individuals creativity.

In this North American climate of change, my more feminine faith remains broken knowing that the people haven’t the health to wholly hold the charge of Libertarianism, self-governance and autonomy at this time. I’m thinking, that it will have to take a grass roots revolution in the States to provoke any real change. Perhaps read anything Ayn Rand wrote and also “The Creature of Jekyll Island” (it’s a free pdf) if you want some history behind the impulse to enslave North Americans. However, I digress.

As a result of the last decade in Canada under Steven Harper (spoken seething between clenched teeth), I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not sure I want to identify as a Canadian anymore. In fact, I’ve not voted FOR anyone since Trudeau, just strategically against the worst possible candidates. I did the same this time too. Seriously, what was the point?! If Harper got back in, this election, my plan (which is already in motion) was to repatriate to Central America setting up offshore, get my tax money and investments out of this corrupt nation being sold off to China in unethical chunks. I beyond tired of Bills being passed behind our backs, corrupt leanings, bipartisan politics and dirty back room deals. It disgusts me beyond measure. (Did I mention that I used to work for the feds years ago? Dark years for me indeed.) I hate that our peace keeping grace, internationally, is now tarnished beyond recognition. I am deeply ashamed. When I travel, I no longer where my Canadian flag as an insignia of pride on my knapsack. That makes me feel sad.

Yes, it is come to this, even though my family has been in Sussex (and Grand Lake), New Brunswick since 1789 since the Elliotts/McQuinns first landed on these shores. I kept my name through two marriages out of a sense of pride. Although I grew up and was educated in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, I came back “home” to work with and for my beloved brethren. I’ve hired a small slew of local New Brunswick women to help run our international natural health clinic, publishing house and natural building collective (shebearconstruction.com) over the last 6 years since I’ve been back. We’re thriving here! We’ve promoted lots of natural home births, helped folks with their chronic ills and provided many jobs. Heck we’ve even helped other want-to-be local authors publish their own books.

I attributed it all to the fact that my husband and I are self-starting, self-governing individuals who abhor hand outs. My kids are brilliant, self-educated homeschoolers. We’ve written 13 books, some best-sellers, and consult with our patients worldwide. Because of the passing of that fateful, rose, I learned to become an emblem of integrity and true Canadian grit. I am the essence of myself! I could have easily taken my family to BC and Alberta, a much more progressive climate, but we came east, against a tide of escaping Maritimers, to see what we were made of. Pierre Elliott taught me to grab your inner gumption and git ‘er done in the face of tradition and social adversity.

My husband is from Laval, QC, but he and I both love the people and landscape here. We also LOVE a challenge. Living out West, for us, would have been WAY too easy given our state of mind and work. We love being agents of change! Also, rush hour, here, is laughable. I also love to hike by the ocean. NB is an untapped jewel of beauty and charm. Grand Manan my go to place for healing, writing and self-reflection. We own acreage over on the Kingston Peninsula where we are starting a teaching centre for people (mostly women) to come learn how to build off-grid solar/wind homes out of hempcrete and strawbale.

We’re not about sustainability, we’re about permaculture and rejuvenation! That is the impulse that we bring to all that we hold sacred. The petro-chemical giants, around these parts, will phase out, naturally, it is not sustainable and it is NOT the way of the future. Every home in Germany is now powered off-grid by the sun! Pipelines and fracking (change 2 letters and you’re closer to the truth) are unethical practices of old-boys networks that marginalize our crown land and native holdings and their (our) peoples. It is not ethical to destroy our water table, our health or steal aboriginal peoples lands. I am “idle no more!” It also isn’t ethical to leave 1,000 murdered native women, and their bereft families, devoid of love, care, compassion or answers. I will not live in a land of seeming unethical cleansing especially where world health organizations know more about our dirty business, demanding a full investigation while we sit “Conservatively” and idly by. I am deeply ashamed.

There is little in the way of international vision in New Brunswick. Many folks outside this province think of it as the land that time forgot. Friends who’ve left to go to Alberta and Ontario tell me that New Brunswick feels like one big “Kings Landing” sucking on the teat of what ever Ottawa throws down east in the way of bones and benefits. We’ve been in this hobbled state of mind since the fishing/local farmers industries collapsed. We’re pathetically a province of hand-out recipients who abhor change with undertones of bigotry and racism. I’m not proud, and I’m not like my ancestors. I have changed and I will follow Gandhi’s maxim to “be the change you want to see in the world” just like Pierre Elliott did.

The trouble is that many Gandhi-like folk land on these shores, now, flavouring our traditional Maritime landscape with change, great food, self-motivation and education. Sadly, the bigotry and unfriendliness often drives these innovators away, up, into the more accepting urban, upper Canadian cities with the capacity to blend in racially and culturally. I detest that we only wave to white, fleshy people with Scotch red hair and Irish blue eyes. I am ashamed. Pierre Elliott mentored me differently.

In a couple of weeks, I leave Canada longterm for the first time in my life. Now that my children have grown and have left home, I can be a digital nomad working remotely to run my business via Internet and Skype. From a distance, I will ruminate on my choices. Do I resonate with Canada and her majority government? Likely not. Will the past wreckage and carnage be undone? Perhaps. Will I feel empowered to continue the work we’ve begun in the last 6 years in NB? Is this the right geography for me to fully become my essential self, to be fully actualized as an ethical and righteous human being within the construct of a Canadian identity? The answer 4 days out of this past election, is … I simply just don’t know.

Right now the more easy beach breezes, solar off-grid home, and high speed internet calls to my more than mid-life bones. I’ve worked full-time since I was 16 (orphaned tragically by both parents), completing an honours BA, a medical degree and post graduate study. For the first time in 52 years I’m solvent without student loans crushing my spirit even though this country was supposed to be built on the mandate of FREE education to all (reference to Natural Persons and the serial number on the back of each and every Birth Certificate). I’ve tirelessly researched, written and published 13 books as an Indie writer with not a cent of support from outside sources. Perhaps it is time to hand over the reigns/reins to my own beloved children while I live offshore. You see, I just don’t know. I’m not feeling it.

As you go forward, please think of me. Although, we come from the same town we are different and yet the same. We are entrepreneurial women who love our children, husbands, our Province, our Country, integrity and the truth. Please do not forget that I am who you represent … in the name of God and the essence of the rose.

Sincerely,
Allyson McQuinn
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DHHP, Diploma Homeopathy Heilkunst Program, JAOH, Post Graduate Journeyman in Anthroposophical Orgonomic Physical and Medical Heilkunst
Arcanum Wholistic Clinic Inc.
Heilkunst * Neuroscenar * Bioresonance * Professional Bowtech Bowen Practitioner * Author * Publisher
CoRe-Inergetix System
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Art and Nature Centre, Knowlesville, New Brunswick

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I had the wonderful pleasure of taking my daughter away with me for 2 days to Knowlesville, New Brunswick this past weekend.  The Fall colours were mind-blowing and at times when we crossed a ridge, my driving knees would go weak with awe at the gradation of colours. Nature gets very showy at this time of year and I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy it in one of the most magnificent places in the world.

 

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There is nothing so awesome to me than hitting the top of a ridge and seeing nothing but trees, trees and more trees.  Central New Brunswick has little to clutter up it’s beauty but a few choice farms and fields of harvested food peppered with livestock on it’s landscape. There is no industry, few gas stations and fewer factory farms.  It feels like Vermont, only about 200 years ago!

Our chosen destination had a few purposes.  I’d chosen to take my daughter away before my husband and I leave Canada for a warmer climate for the next 6 months.  I also wanted to visit the Knowlesville Art and Nature Centre and my new friends Tegan and Leland, educators, natural builders and off-grid homesteaders.  I wanted to connect with the people that I’m working to become.

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When we arrived at the straw-bale constructed home, our hosts had let us know that they would be attending a birthday party nearby and that we should just go on in, settle ourselves and then go in search of children’s voices to join them at the bon fire celebration.  Once I entered their magnificent home and cozied in next to the fire after the 3.5 hour drive, from Saint John, it took a lot to tear myself back outside into the brisk Fall air.

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I felt myself take in the walls with awe and wonder.  Most of the walls were finished with a white lime wash, while others still had their “rough coat” only where some bits of straw were visible in the corners.  I was very thankful that I got to observe the living phases of a natural building on these more exposed walls.  It was like observing everything that I had studied about natural building thus far.

The walls felt warm, insulating, enveloping and they seem to lower my more churned up city psyche and bring it down several notches.  My gut was smiling into the roots of my being.  It confirmed how much I’ve craved this feeling full time in my own home.  The post and beam construction spoke to a solidity and master craftsmanship that made me almost weep with the detail and care.  My woman’s heart felt love and beauty carved in each male and female joinery.  This home was an artful rending.  My soul rejoiced!

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Each window provided a seat for one of the four children that I later observed reading or napping in the warmth of the sunlight.  The lights were few and remained off much of the time due to the desire to conserve the solar power stored in the bank of batteries and so often you’d feel drawn to the deeply magnificent linseed oil sealed windows to see or read something more clearly.  Beauty and activity abounded by the portals of light.

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I loved how each wall curved in the most feminine way from the surrounding straw bale shape making the window that much more accentuated.  The ledges so wide and inviting that a bowl of fresh picked Quince, a Russian Doll, the ingredients to make sourdough bread and necessary travel books, lanterns and a hat all graced the ample surfaces.  Posies from a day gone bye dropped the seeds of potential for next year’s planting.

I was truly besotted by every detail.  So much love, meaning and tenderness went into this more than 3,500 square foot dwelling.  I was captivated to such a degree that it was like falling deeply in love.  I could not wait to meet my hosts!

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Tegan and Leland were both the most generous, talented and loving individuals that I might ever have had the pleasure to meet.  Their home was a tapestry of muted children’s voices, the straw bale walls seemed to absorb and then exhale their calls for their mother or the 8 month-old baby’s mewling in the early morning shortly after the near light of dawn.

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Both Leland and Tegan chose to build their house on a 4 foot poured concrete foundation given the height of this buxom timber frame structure.  Each floor above rose in a slightly smaller proportion allowing for the slope of the roof and the load bearing posts and beams.  My daughter and I were on the top floor in the loft, just below the ladder to the pinnacle which is “tree-house” sweet spot of the home.  What an awesome place to play, sleep and marvel at the world from above the surrounding treetops.

The bath had a traditional four claw tub and a humanure toilet.  I’d read extensively the practice of bucket pooping, but I’d never personally sprinkled sawdust onto urine or excrement until this weekend.  I was sure that my olfactory senses would balk, however, I only noticed a mild earthy-like odour that smelled very much like an early day in Spring,  just alive and healthy without wasting precious drinking water.  Leland let me know that the compost from this culmination of organic materials created the richest of soils about every 3 years.  I was so excited to have lived everything I’d studied in books and watched hours of Youtube videos about natural/off-grid building.

We chatted for hours over freshly pressed apple cider from the apples in their yard, or warm milk from their family’s jersey cow with a dash of organic molasses. Yum!  Tegan and Leland informed me that their house is powered by 30 year old solar panels that the Reagan administration had done away with during the oil and gas boon in support of the petrochemical giants.  Some unassuming fellow in Maine had the foresight to buy them up and sell them to other off-grid-ers for a reasonable cost.

Tegan mentioned that they did have back up wind power for November and December when sunlight is in short supply, however, one day after stepping out of the bath, during an ungodly storm, she heard the wind rip into hollow beside their house and watched with horror as all the blades of her windmill got blown to smithereens, scattering like toothpicks across the gnarly landscape.  She said that someone had kindly donated a new kit, but that they’d been so busy, of recent, to have gotten around to installing it yet.

As we got into the territory of She-Bear Construction, Leland said that he was blown away by the recent surge of women builders.  He said that women were adding a real artistry to their homes with coloured glass bottles in transoms over the door to river stones in the shower or hand-made tiles for back splashes.  He said that they all seem to want round homes!  In fact, he’d just finished building a permanent round yurt out of straw bale for a hospital nurse neighbour up the road, “The cedar shakes for the roof was the biggest challenge.  She’ll have to apply Linseed oil on them every 5 years on a hot day during the summer to maintain it’s durability.”

After a pause, Leland spoke, further ruminating, “With all our traditional supplies designed to build square structures, I sometimes wonder if there will be a place in future for a male builder like me.  Natural building is evolving so quickly that I’m unsure how I might fit in to serve this burgeoning evolution.”  When I looked around his home, I could see no reason for him not to be served by an apprenticing natural builder like me.  I’d do just about anything to spend a summer working for him.  Also, he could build me a square, triangle or round house for me any day … his craftsmanship was superb!

After Leland had provided me with about 5 different female builders from Nova Scotia to Oregon, I decided to go for a walk to clear my head and check out the area.  I walked down the road to get a good look at the round house he’d built from the outside.  900 square feet with a naturally peaked cap of the roofline over the doorway, lent an artistry that was awe inspiring.  The chimney was blowing smoke rings from the height of the central peak.  What a masterful feat of thought and engineering!  Would I ever be able to pull off something as beautiful as this?

I continued my walk while being passed by periodically by trucks with men and women wearing camouflage gear and bright orange vests.  I waved to them, as all New Brunswickers wave to each other on country roads.  It is buried courtesy in our culture.  I got down quite a piece when I heard the hunter’s shots not too far off in the distance.  Even though I was wearing a bright yellow rain jacket, I decided to turn back.  I hadn’t slept well the night before due to the excitement and so I had the desire to take an afternoon nap in the loft next to my teenage daughter who still wasn’t out of bed yet.

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The snowflakes on this late October day fell in giant clusters as I reached the front porch. Several laying hens, and their accompanying roosters, had hopped up on the wrap around deck in an attempt to stay warm and dry as the early snowfall must have also accosted them.  I found them hiding behind several cords of wood stove wood.  The hammock hanging at one end spoke of summertime’s passing and Tegan’s work in Mexico and Central America as a biologist, propagating orchids, before marriage and children.  She now spends her days studying and applying the principles of holistic and inspirational education from the inside out.

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The next morning, on Sunday when we departed, full of wonderful, dynamic conversations about Waldorf education and natural building, I stopped by the church cum school that they’d had moved from the village of Knowlesville a few years prior.  The sunlight dappling it’s mustard walls with the early tree figures from the sun on the rise.  Our bellies also full of homemade oatmeal peppered with raisins and fresh apples from this years bumper crop.  The local maple syrup, the chai tea made with fresh cream skimmed from their Jersey milk still churned with pleasure in my mind and belly.  I’d enjoyed a little slice of heaven on earth.  I had embodied my model of excellence in natural living for myself.  The key for me will be to hold this ideal in my mind while I work to become it for myself.

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To find our more about Tegan and Leland Wong-Daugherty’s Natural Building, Land Trust and Intentional Community, you can find them here: http://www.back2land.ca/about-us.html

 

 

 

 

 

What Does Natural Hemp Building, Tiny Houses and Permaculture All Have In Common?

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Andrew Martin is the author of the book Rethink: …Your world, Your future (http://amzn.to/1KShmDL). After waking up to the worlds sustainability crisis, Andrew left the high flying world of finance to move to New Zealand and start a permaculture farm where he now lives with his wife Beth. In this interview, we hear about his research, permaculture and how the tiny house movement provides insight into potential models of sustainable living.  Perhaps you, too, will intuit the link between sustainable living, economy of scale, natural building and permaculture.

 

Checkout this video of him below, giving some great insight onto which direction we need to go in terms of sustainability and how tiny houses fit into that realm.

 

Tiny Houses And Permaculture For A Resilient And Sustainable Future