Monday, August 8, 2011

Every day heroes

I know - our new chooks have names - but they have been renamed in honour of Nancy Wake aka White Mouse who passed away yesterday aged 98.

Portrait of Nancy painted by Robert Hannaford

I have always loved history and have long been fascinated by heroines like Nancy Wake and Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) - I think about my life, the challenges I face, what I complain about - and then think of the amazing women who have shaped history and am just humbled.

Jeanne d'Arc set about trying to recover her country from English domination and lifted the siege of Orleans in only 9 days all whilst being a teenager!  Today I got my daughter to school on time, am working from home on my 'day job' and have given in to a 2 year old already (he wanted crisps and cartoons, I wanted to take a conference call in peace, Master Bok (2) got his crisps.  In front of the television.  Watching WonderPets.  I fail !!!!) and haven't even thought about what to put on for dinner yet.

Nancy helped thousands to flee the grip of the Nazis, as a Resistance fighter in France, topped the Gestapo's most wanted list and strangled an enemy with her bare hands.  Last night for my 'night job' I looked at how to educate farmers in Eastern Uganda and how to create and maintain a desperately needed seed bank for them - but without electricity, ability to keep seeds dry and cool - again I fail!!  Oh and I also encouraged Mr Bok to go and pee in the garden because even thinking about trapping a fox and what to do with it afterwards gives me the heebie jeebies (I've had many suggestions from boinking on head to wheelie bins full of water ugh I don't like foxes but I don't think I can bring myself to kill one either let alone strangle it with my bare hands even though it murdered my hens!!  Again, I think I fail).

Plum blossom
Nancy Wake led an amazing live, she was a fearless and passionate woman who fought for what she believed in.  She also learnt that her husband was tortured and killed for not revealing her location.  Now there is another hero.  Some people say that circumstances create heroes but I think that heroes create circumstance. How much worse off our world would be without the courage and perseverance of the human spirit.

Almond blossom

I'm also humbled by 'everyday heroes' - by Wayne, the homeless man who sits and draws on Bourke Street and sells his cards/art instead of begging - who always has a story and a kind word for me.  Everyday heroes like my friend B who has recently had a baby - but that baby is in ICU at the children's hospital because she had to undergo major surgery at birth to correct several heart defects - so many heroes in that scene alone, the team of surgeons, the courage of the baby, the love of the parents.  Another hero in my friend N who puts herself down all the time as being a 'just a stay at home mum' and cannot see that she is doing anything special with her days - but whose love and self sacrifice are just incredible if you examine what she does every day and how much of her soul she puts into those children.  There are everyday heroes and people who inspire everywhere, you just have to look a little closer at their stories.

So, please meet Nancy, our light blue astralorp.  She settled into the coop right away, no bickering whatsoever.  This is her, looking up at something.

I've nailed flexible clear plastic on the coop to keep the rain and draughts out - I just pin and unpin the sheet so it's very easy to use.  In summer I can just take it off altogether as I've made little holes where the sheeting just pops on and off. 

They are good at getting in and out of the coop now - but I've found a pigeon in their coop already!  On day 1 of emancipation of the flock!   
 yellow stool I like to sit on to watch them

To remind me of my heroes and of the values they represent for various reasons I aspire to, I've renamed the flock.  Thinking about what values they inspire in me, they all share similar qualities that I admire, being courage, compassion, conviction of belief, confidence and optimism in the face of adversity and dogged stubbornness where it comes to doing what they believed was the right thing no matter what their culture told them they couldn't do.        

Nancy - the new light blue astralorp  (Nancy Wake - and come to think of it, Nancy Drew as I was a child reading her books!)
Florence - the frizzle silver pencilled plymouth rock  (Florence Nightingale and Florence Kelley)
Joan - the porcelain belgian d'uccle (Jeanne d'Arc or Joan of Arc)
Artemis - leader of the bok flock so far!  Hopefully if I name her for the goddess of the hunt (and animals and moon!) she will protect the flock from foxes!

Other historical females I admire:
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Benazir Bhutto
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Actually the list is too long for me to continue...!

Vale White Mouse and thank you for reminding me of the women I look up to and the people around me that are sources of inspiration


  1. I agree that Nancy Wake was indeed a special woman who stood up for what she believed in. I also admire Vivian Bullwinkel for her efforts during WW2. She was one tough cookie who survived while others around her perished.
    Love the hens new abode, especially the yellow stool.


  3. Nice to meet you Nancy Bok! You are named after a truly remarkable woman! (Nancy Drew wasn't half bad either!) It is hard for us to imagine how brave she was, and others like her, the hardships they faced.... it is beyond our comprehension! We owe so much to her and the others who sacrificed so much like she did!
    Your flock is looking hot to trot! They are going to love the warmer weather, and so will you if all those blossoms deliver their promised fruits and nuts!
    Happy week Boks! X

  4. what an interesting post, I am sure that your inspiring women also failed at some things, don't be so hard on yourself.Hope the nasty fox stays away!

  5. Beautiful sentiment Mrs Bok. I too am a lover of history and the amazing women who helped shape it - helps that I'm a high school history teacher.

  6. Mrs Bok, your post has me in awe of your cleverness, and ashamed of my ignorance.

    I think I'll be naming my chickens after ABC Kids personalities. My life consists of these things. Giggle and Hoot.. now that has a nice ring to it ;P


  7. Good for you, renaming! An interesting post!

  8. Those chickens now have a lot to live up to. Great names for great ladies.

  9. What a nice tribute! And I really like how you have decorated the chicken looks so inviting.

  10. What an egg-ceptional and interesting discussion. Your little hens are indeed lucky to have found their way to the Bok Flock. Their coop looks sturdy and safe. But be ever vigilant. My dad grew sweet corn that the raccoons continually raided. He installed floodlights and speakers that were rigged to blast when the raccoons approached, so you might try some kind of motion detector to scare Mr. Fox away. Neighbors might not like it, but perhaps it would only take one good fright. You could also set up a game camera in your yard that will photograph whatever comes into the yard at night to help you come up with a solution.

  11. Well Nancy bok is most fitting! And Nancy Wake and Joan of Arc are both to be very much admired. I love the names that you gave to the flock :)

  12. Loved this post and your chooks, they are gorgeous. I really enjoyed reading about your every day heroes, as well as the other more famous ones. You sound like such a lovely person, I even like your little yellow stool. Hope to pop back and visit again x

  13. I am terrible because I only really heard about the White Mouse and what she did just recently, and only because of her death. I agree with you that heroes create circumstances, I often don't speak out when I should and I don't know if push came to shove if I could throw a grenade through the front door of a house where a Gestapo meeting was in session!

    Lovely names for your ladies, and I think that trying to help educate farmers in Uganda is most certainly more helpful than you are giving yourself credit for!

  14. My son was talking to me all about Nancy tonight. He was absolutely fascinated in her life which I think is fantastic for a 9 year old boy :) And yes, she was a real hero!

  15. Hello! Love your garden and chicken coop. Thanks for sharing these heroes. I am so encouraged. Btw, that yellow stool, I have a pink one that goes well with your shoe rack. I wish they will come out with either white, black and dark brown. Love to have a few more ;-)

  16. Hello! Thank you for your replies! :)
    Was thinking of the heroes in the UK who died defending their neighbourhood from the looters. So sad.

  17. When I was small I thought of following Artemis footsteps..hehehe...pretty names for your cute chooks.

  18. Hello Mrs Bok, thank you for your comment on my blog - it was a lovely surprise!
    I have just read your post and, yes, we have some truly great women to admire. Nancy was incredible wasn't she.
    Your blue Australorp is very pretty and with Nancy as her name, I'm sure she'll lead all the others a merry dance ;D) Cheers, Susan

  19. Hi Mrs Bok,

    Just wanted you to know that I have found you through cityhippyfarmgirl and I am loving your Blog! I am new to this, just started my first blog a week ago. I love your passion for chooks and your name amuses me as we named our first 'girls' Bok Bok 1, 2, 3 & 4. Still trying to work out where you are currently based??

    Mel xx


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