Friday, July 03, 2015

Horsing Around in Mongolia ~

Mongolians show deep affection for their horses. The horses are not their pets nor are they ridden for leisure, but remain a working part of the family and used in races. Their horses are symbols of wealth.
 Racing is and has been a national sport passed down through generations of the Nomadic tribes since the days of Genghis Khan. Children learn to ride horses as soon as they can walk and then spend much of their lives in search of stray horses, as there are almost no fences in the entire country to restrain them.
Several of my most memorable moments while out in the countryside were sitting by the door of our ger and watching the horses pass right in front of me, racing, grazing and sleeping as care free and completely unconcerned about what was around. I have never  observed such freedom that horses possess in be able to roam wherever they wanted, day and night.
Below I have photographed several  young jockeys preparing for their local  midsummer Naadam, a traditional festival, which young boys age 3 to 15 will compete. We happened to be camped near the grounds where one festival was taking place and also on another occasion, we were able to photograph another group getting ready for their race. Notice the horses are much smaller ......

                                                              Local farmer passing by

                                                    Traditional round up time

                                                  Father training young son

                                                      Waiting to begin their race

                                                                Race is over

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Making Cheese in Mongolia ~Nomadic Style

Fresh milk ready for the fire.
There are always a few rare opportunites to learn different methods of cooking when you travel.  For instance, like making worked! With this family's help, their cow milk was turned into cheese. I probably would not have this on my list of favorites, but then again I have not acquired a taste for this particular kind of cheese. Sort of chewy, a tad flavorless, but fresh! I am sure it was perfect and very suitable for this nomadic family lifestyle.

                                                           The Cheesemaker

                                                           Straining the curds

                                         Necessary to press out all the moisture.

A weight was placed on top to add extra pressure for releasing all the liquid. This remained on top for about 15 minutes. I have no idea what that weight belonged to ~ maybe part of a vehicle. It was clean.......

                                   There you have it! Ready to slice, serve and taste in under an hours time.