|My Ger with the Top Covering Taken Off|
A couple of weekends ago my counterparts and hashaa family came together to get my ger ready for winter. The Mongolian translates to "warming up" one's ger. I hovered around trying to be helpful, more or less like the four-year-old that wants to help in the kitchen, is given a pot to bang a wooden spoon on, and told it's a very important job. Eventually they just laughed every time I asked what I could do to help, and sent me to make milk tea.
Winterization takes an afternoon of work. First, the top layer of fabric covering my ger was removed. Thick pieces of felt were brought out of storage, and my counterparts stitched them up (while I hovered nearby saying "I can sew! Honestly! We do that in America, too!") and they were piled on top of my ger. A new, heavier flap was attached to the top for covering my skylight when it rains and snows. One of the children who lives in my hashaa climbed up on top of my ger to tie it on. Finally, a little fence is built and filled with dirt, so the base of my ger is now packed in nice and snug.
|Quentin Enjoying the New Dirt Around My Ger|
It's amazing how much of a difference these few things make! My ger is noticeably warmer, heats up faster when I start a fire, and I no longer have to break through ice on top of my water jug in the morning like I was doing the week before we winterized. (Although in a month or two everything will be freezing, no matter how well winterized I am! Good thing my sleeping bag is nice and warm!) Also, the whole ger smells rather pleasantly like a sheep thanks to my extra felt. Very cozy!
While I may not have been able to help much with winterizing, I did succeed in making milk tea. No one drank it except my hashaa "grandmother," maybe because they knew I'd never made it before and didn't want to risk it, haha. But hashaa-grandma said it had "a nice taste," which is high praise, and she is undoubtedly a milk tea expert.
So, in apology for not having blogged in a while, here is a milk tea recipe for you:
Mongolian Milk Tea Recipe
First, take some plain black tea in tea bags. Boil water with a tea bag or two (depending on how much you're making) until it becomes tea-colored. Add salt. Add milk, stirring, until the tea is white. Bring back to a boil. Taste. It should taste salty; if not, add more salt. Take the tea bags out. Remove from heat and enjoy!