Across the plains of Outer Mongolia where the winds howl and whistle for most of the year, roam the yaks. They mostly stay together and travel in herds.
Great shaggy beasts with warm coats to keep out the bitter cold. Occasionally you will see a cow, but they are not nearly as hardy as a yak and usually die over winter from the cold. However there has been some natural interbreeding between cows and yaks producing some interesting animals. The colour of yaks range from dark black, right through all the shades of brown into a creamy white.
Lumbering Beasts !
Because of the climate the Mongolians do not have access to fresh vegetables all year round. Their diet is mainly meat or products made from yak milk. We visited with a local family in their nomadic home. They raise Mongolian horses. As soon as the weather turns, they pull up sticks and move to more sheltered ground close to the mountain for protection from the harsh winter weather. We were given Yak Tea to try. For me Yuck, I could only take a sip. I could not believe my husband drank all of his. The first shock was it was stone cold when I was expecting it to be hot. Well wouldn’t you ? Tea is normally hot and warming, and I needed warming. We were also offered fried yak butter and some kind of yak milk pastry/biscuit things which to my mind were more palatable. These were also cold, but you would expect them to be. I felt bad not finishing my yak tea. Several others also left theirs. As we were leaving the wife was throwing it all out behind the tent giving me a massive guilt trip in rejecting her hospitality.
When you do not have a land of plenty, what resources you have are used wisely. Chicken is available but how many can you feed from one life…not many. However, the yak for one life provides food for many. I found this to be a very interesting concept. To consider which is the best life to take to eat.