In summer life revolves around the milking of the mares
8:00 Ayushjav has finished milking the cows and now lights the horse-dung fire, so the milk can be put on to boil. Gantsetseg is still in the field making up packs of fresh cow dung, which is also used as fuel. The shovel the young girl uses is too big for her, so she often uses her hands to combine the piles of dung. She flattens the packs and leaves them to dry, then walks barefoot to the river to wash her hands.
Already a’ little mother, Gantsetseg walks back into the ger and tells Narantsetseg that she is lazy and that the floor she is cleaning is not clean enough. Narantsetseg makes a face. She wishes she were with her brothers on her horse. When the others are at boarding school and she is alone with her father, she is the one who helps her father gather the sheep. This year, Narantsetseg will also leave for school. Her parents know they will be lonely, but sending the children away to school is the only way to educate them.
They could have another child. The Mongolian government encourages large families; the country has vast resources and not enough people to tap them. A woman with five children is awarded her pension at an early age and receives two weeks of paid vacation a year in one of the many spas located throughout the country. But, for now, these benefits are not attractive enough for Ayushjav to consider having another baby.
As elegant as a princess, Ayushjav walks toward her husband, carrying two milk pails. During the summer months, their children’s assistance with the sheep is essential, as Sereeter and Ayushjav’s life revolves around the milking of the mares, which takes place every two hours.