When I woke up on September 8, I never guessed I’d be milking a mare later that day…. Will get to that.
|Herding on the Steppes|
We headed South from the Karakhorum camp for a short while on a dirt track – we were on dirt tracks from now on – and suddenly Boldah, our driver, veered to the right onto the steppe. We wondered – WTF? It was a short cut to a more travelled track. We constantly marveled that he always knew where he was going, across the vast Mongolian steppe – no signs, very few roads. But he had been doing this for 15 years; we were not concerned.
Another right turn, and we were headed for the ger encampment of a nomadic family. Two gers, a satellite dish, a solar panel, about 25 head of horses and some goats across the way. The lady of the house, wearing a Boston, Massachusetts sweatshirt over a cashmere sweater, turned off the small black and white TV, powered by 3 car batteries, and welcomed us into her home. She was busy making a number of foods from yak milk – a dried yogurt that tasted like a sweet parmesan, dried bean curd, a butter that was like a solid, but soft ghee, a very smooth vodka, and then fermented mare’s milk. All pretty tasty.Then it was time to milk the mares - apparently, they do it about 5 times a day. I tried it for a few minutes (hence the opening comment). The teats were about 4 inches long and smooth – the technique involved starting at the top and smoothly moving downward, pinching the teat
|Ricky trying her hand|
|A Traditional Wooden Saddle|
We thanked them as best we could and took our leave, not before our hostess ran out with a bag of yak milk goodies. It was a visit we won’t forget.