Living with Ot near Khövsgöl lake
For two glorious weeks in May we had a crack at being ‘Yak Farmers’. We lived in a log house, cooked off the fire stove in the center, slept in the South and watched Korean soap operas on TV on the West side. That’s for the layout.
‘House nomads’ just like the other nomads in Mongolia move 3-4 times a year. The only difference is that they own around 3 houses. One for summer, one for winter and one that serves them during spring and autumn. The summer spot by Ots was at the top of a hill with a beautiful log house hidden among larch trees. In the summer it gets too hot in such an enclosed area for yaks, that’s why Ot and all her (nomad) neighbours move down the valley, to an open grassland. In the winter they head up the mountain, to more secluded spot with a big enclosed yak yard (to protect them from freeeeeeezing in the winter).
Plan of the log house resembles that of a yurt. Front door faces East, the kitchen area is to the right from the entrence, wood stove is placed in the center and the sacred zone it situated in front of the door. In the Ots house, just like in many others, it became the spot for TV (solar powered), blue ceremonial hadag and photos of family. Every morning, after milking the yaks, Ot would do an offering of fresh milk for her deceased husband, pouring it into a glass cup and leaving it in front of his photograph for the whole day.
The fire was in the center of our life in the north. In the morning we were making fire to boil milk, later to cook some noodles and milk tea and in the evening to warm ourselves up and heat the inside for the night.
After a week we moved to the summer house. It was not a craftsmanship masterpiece, however for the summer months the holes in the walls and in the roof may bring Ot some breeze, as any suggestions of upgrades were not met with enthusiasm. Soon a post about the Moving Day!