Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Need Yak Dung

Attention zookeepers, Kyrgyz shepherds, and souvenir-hunting mountain climbers:

I need yak dung.

My work-in-progress has lurched its way into the high and snowy mountains, where my characters encounter (among other things) fires built with yak dung. Himalayan-style, yo.

Always on the lookout for killer details, I need to know what this smells like. And that means finding some yak dung and burning it. Please don't make me head for the litterbox with rubber gloves. Not cool.

Here in farm country I could probably put my hands on (I mean, obtain) some cow patties for a suitable test. But aren't yaks different from cows? Or do all ungulates produce droppings of a similar composition and thus aroma?

Details matter!


Babs said...

I know that rock hyrax dung, when dried, is used to help treat epilepsy. Don't think this helps with yak dung but interesting, nevertheless!

S R Wood said...

Treat epilepsy? I truly hope there is not some obscure body of research dedicated to the healing properties of various droppings.

Babs said...

Yak dung smells sweeter and cleaner than regular cattle dung because it feeds on wild grasses only. It is collected, dried and stacked to use as fuel. It is also used in conjunction with mud, and probably straw as a building material for yerts (sp??). So, there you have it.