December 12, 2016
Given the choice most animals would rather it didn't snow at Christmas: travelling about on foot, hoof, or paw can be tricky; food is hard to come by; water supplies freeze over; and even the best furry winter coat has its limits.
But there is one furry animal which would certainly prefer a good few inches of the white stuff, and that's the mountain Hare. This beautiful animal is predominantly found all across the vast northern land stretching all the way from Scandinavia to Siberia, but we're lucky to have a modest few in the Highlands of Scotland.
Due to climate change the certainty of snow in the Highlands can no longer be taken for granted, and our friend the mountain hare is not prepared! This particular species has evolved to live a large chunk of the year in a whitened landscape, and so moults its more familiar brown fur for a stunning winter-ready white coat.
So without a white snowy backdrop to merge with this poor animal sticks out like a sore thumb, and as we know predators are particularly hungry during the winter months. Needless to say Scotland is home of the golden eagle, a giant raptor which would make light work of even the largest lepus timidus.
Hares have always featured in traditional winter celebration meals as the mountain hare's cousin, the common brown hare, doesn't have the benefit of growing a white winter cover. Because all hares are practically homeless - preferring a casual shallow in the ground known as a 'form' to any designated burrow - winter life gets much tougher for them if every child's Christmas wish comes true. But when the landscape stays scrubby shades of beige, the tables are turned on the white coated mountain hare.
A few hundred years ago an unfortunate brown hare in the snow could have easily been spotted and coursed by man and dog and found itself accompanying traditional medieval Christmas dishes, such as Souse (pickled pig trotters and ears), or splayed around the circumference of the Christmas special, the Tudor Christmas Pie: a conveniently coffin shaped pastry filled with a turkey, stuffed with a goose, stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with a partridge, stuffed with a pigeon... After Eight anyone?
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Welcome to The DM Collection, a collection of products by award winning Artist Daniel Mackie.
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