Viola Stirling’s Nature Diary: 31 Dec 1921

Viola’s final entry for the year 1921 is very short and concerns a hedgehog. She is at Gartinstarry again, which is just west of Buchlyvie and consists of farmland and a few properties. It is possible Viola was staying at the farmhouse occupied by Commander H R G Moore, but she may have meant one of the other properties.

Viola has rescued a hedgehog from a rabbit trap and declares that she is going to look after it until Spring. Unfortunately we do not know if she succeeded, but feeding them porridge and milk would not have been ideal. Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant! Today, a dish of dog food and water is recommended to provide supplementary foods for hedgehogs. She did have the right idea about waiting until Spring as hedgehogs usually hibernate from Oct/Nov to Mar/Apr. However, it is not uncommon for the hedgehog to move to a new location in this period or to hibernate for a shorter period if temperatures remain mild. Perhaps this is why this hedgehog was out and about in December and got caught in a trap.

This diary entry was written on Hogmanay. We know that the Stirling of Gargunnock’s celebration of the changing of the year included sending New Year greetings cards. Some late 19th century examples from the family collection are shown here.

Transcript

Dec 31. Gartinstarry. 3.00 p.m.

Found a hedgehog in a rabbit trap. Am keeping it

until spring. Eats porridge & milk.

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