The Fifth of the Nine-Nines—nine periods of nine days each, each period marked by some description of winter weather—begins today. This is Tavisan Budaa Khöldökhgui, the time when “Cooked Rice Cannot Be Frozen.” I must admit I really don’t understand the definition of this period. It seems to me that cooked rice would be frozen at any temperature below freezing, and we can certainly expect colder temperatures than that during the last week of January and beginning of February. Anyhow, the Fourth of the Nine-Nines was supposed to be coldest of the Nine-Nines, and the rest of the country is still reeling from the cold snap: Extreme Weather Threatens Mongolians with Hunger and Poverty. Over one million head of livestock have reportedly died. Even wildlife has been affected: Mongolian Antelope Invasion Causes Alarm in Russia. True, it was up to 14ºF / Minus 10ºC yesterday afternoon, but Tsagaan Sar is coming up on the 14th of February and we often have really frigid weather for that. So there may be little if any relief in store for the countryside any time soon. I wish I could get out and see for myself what is happening, but unfortunately I am unable to travel at the moment. Maybe I will have some updates from the countryside around Tsagaan Sar.