A day in the life of a Mongolian Herders Wife and Mother
Mom gets up at dawn; she starts the fire in the stove warming the house and starts making breakfast. First she boils milk tea and then she takes a little tea outside the house to pray to God, blessing the earth by sprinkling the tea with a wooden spoon three times; she does so towards the east, west, north and south. Then she goes back into the house; by then everyone is up, she gives tea first to her husband and then the children. A Mongolian breakfast is whatever you have available that day. Most herder families have milk tea, homemade cookies, homemade fluffy butter, lamb ribs or other meats. After breakfast the children help mom wash the dishes. Then she milks the cow; her husband helps the children take out the calf. She will also milk the sheep and goats as well. When all the animals have been milked, she fixes goody bags with snacks aaruul which is dry yogurt; her husband is herding the cows out on the steppes while the older children herd the sheep and goats.
After that she boils milk making a fluffy butter, then she cleans her house and rakes the yard; cleaning up the animals shed also. Next she washes the family’s clothes and hangs them outside on the clothesline. In the afternoon she makes different kinds of yogurt, dried as well as fried. Her husband and the children come home with the animals, they quickly eat snacks and help mom milk the animals. Once the milking is finished and the animals are put away she prepares dinner. When dinner is finished she works on her sewing, she is making a deel which is the Mongolian traditional clothing. Sometimes she makes altercations or repairs to their clothes.
Herders’ families move each of the four seasons to different areas based on grazing. During winter the herders’ life is very difficult due to the extreme cold, wind and sometimes deep snow. January and February are difficult due to the birthing of their animals.
In the spring time they are shearing sheep, combing cashmere goats as well as the camels; using these materials to make wool felt and different types of yarn.
In the summer time they dry yogurts and other dairy products for the winter. During this time they also slaughter animals and dry the meat for winter. They also harvest herbs and dry them for winter.
During the fall they collect dry manure to be used as fuel for making fires during the harsh winter. Gathering dried grasses for hay and repairing the animal sheds.