Horses at Karasar, originally uploaded by voyageAnatolia.
A Transhumance Story at Anatolian Mountains
Zehra Hanim lives at Karasar, on the southern slopes of Köroglu Mountains. Bolu Köroglu Mountains are between Ankara and Istanbul freeway. We are going to Karasar from Beypazari to the west of Ankara. Etymologically we can translate her name as Ms. Sarah. In summer she lives in her cottage at a highland village Cukuroren on the mountains. Her nephew Mustafa works at the Municipality of Karasar. He meets us at Karasar and we go to the highland village to visit Ms. Zehra.
She is happy to have guests. She makes tea for us. The highland village reminds me the cottage of Alm-Öhi on the Alps in my childhood book Heidi. They offered us yoghurt they made. We offered the bread we brought. We can see where the yoghurt comes. Cows, horses, chicken are grazing and picking in pasture freely. This is a great favor, because they have products of cows and poultry only enough for themselves.
While we are sitting and chatting in front of the cottage a calf comes and shouts loudly. I asked Ms. Zehra "What does it say?" Ms. Zehra "She says I'm home!" and calls her "My girl! Coming? Come here!" just like calling her own daughter. She suddenly jumps and comes like a puppy. She looks us to know who we are. Ms. Zehra welcomes her and takes her in her room like a family member. I could hardly imagine what is a cow until that moment!
Your Plastic Bags are Killing My Cows
We chat with Ms. Zehra. She says: "We like visitors. But we don't like picnickers at all!", and explains: "They leave garbage in plastic bags. Our cows eat them and they die!"
They come here each summer walking from Karasar with cows and walk back in autumn.