This is a steer carved out of tilleuil. (I don't know the word for that in English. It's a shady tree that produces leaves used to make tea. The wood is lightweight and yet very solid.) This figurine was made by an old man who lives in a village near Saugues, a slightly larger village in the Haute Loire. There was something about the simplicity of his little creations that made them very compelling to me. I got one for my friend Monique as well; hers is a donkey because she's working on a new and exciting professional project that will require all of her tenacity and ability to see things through. I'm sure she'll succeed. More about that later. This steer is for Walt; he's solid, dependable, patient and strong.
This bad ass is the kitten formerly known as BB, for Big Brother, before we discovered that he is a she. Actually, we knew BB was a female but our neighbor Luda, who grew up on a farm in the Ukraine and killed kittens for fun (just kidding, Luda!), insisted BB was a he. She saw what looked like tiny balls. Look at her, though. She does have balls, and would kick my ass if she heard me refer to them as tiny. We may not have to change her name, though. How about BB for Brigitte Bardot, who incidentally LOVES animals and once had her neighbor's donkey castrated because she felt it was coming on to her horse? I'm not sure I want my cat named after a once beautiful starlette who has gone on to champion right-wing politics (except for the animal rights thing), however. So we're working on other names: Pushkin, to go with Munchkin; and Dora the Explorer, which was bestowed on her during my absence, because she apparently leaves no knick-knack unturned in her endless quest for the Holy Grail or the Hidden Nail or the half-filled Pail. We'll see. For now, she's Bad Ass Kitten with Attitude.