The Hidden Almanac for
Monday October 21st, 2013
Episode 17
Previous episode: 2013-10-18
Next episode: 2013-10-23


Today is the birthday of Angus Stewart, last of the Haggischarmers. It is also the day a new breed of hog was shown, and the day everyone had that dream. It is the Feast Day of St. Cissa, and in the garden it is time for horseradish.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac, I'm Reverend Mord. Today is October 21th, 2013.

Today is the birthday of Angus Stewart, last of the great Haggischarmers. These showmen, with their troops of performing haggises, were once common throughout the highlands of the northeast. As the number of wild haggises dwindled, however, so did the Haggischarmers, and few young people showed an interest in this ancient art. Stewart himself was the only apprentice of his master, Black Maggie McDonnell. He could find no one to train, and said on his deathbed that the secret of haggischarming died with him. The last of Stewart's haggises were released on the moors after his death. Local legend has it that for many years, on Christmas Day, a wild haggis would lie down on his grave.

And it was on this day in 1849 that the Old Flowerspot breed of hog was introduced at the Royal Fair. The Old Flowerspot was a small, relatively dainty hog, well-suited to single family farms. Their personality was described as "personable", "charming", and "manipulative as hell." Many Old Flowerspots became beloved pets and passed away of great old age, causing the breed to fall out of favor with commercial hog farmers.

On this day in the Year of the Frozen Star, everyone had that nightmare where your teeth fall out and you can't get to a dentist.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Cissa,[1] patron of small bits of brightly colored string. Saint Cissa is usually represented as a magpie with a halo, sitting on a multicolored nest. Her aid is sought by kleptomaniacs and those with enthusiastic but questionable decorating sense.

In the garden today, it's time to dig horseradish. Folk wisdom has it that if you dig your horseradish under the full moon, it will have a stronger flavor. Here in the Hidden Almanac Test Garden, we've found that the factors most strongly affecting the flavor are regular watering, ambient temperature, and pests. Phase of the moon ran a distant twelfth on the list, behind "yo mama jokes" and "wheelbarrow strike."

Strong flavor is a response to stress, gardeners, so treat your horseradish cruelly. We recommend glaring at your plant and informing it that it never finishes anything it starts, so why should it even bother? This will undermine your horseradish's confidence and provide the best possible harvest.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Tea Company, purveyors of fine and inaccessible teas. Red Wombat — "We Dig Tea."

Also sponsored by Elwood's Pickle Breeders. The finest pickles, from the finest bloodlines, available for stud or show today!

That's the Hidden Almanac for October 21th, 2013. Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Out of Character

The Hidden Almanac is a production of Dark Canvas Media, written by Ursula Vernon and performed and produced by Kevin Sonney. Our theme music is Moon Valley and our exit music is Red in Black, both by Kosta T. You can hear more from Kosta T at the Free Music Archive. All other content is copyright 2013, Ursula Vernon.


  1. "Cissa" is the genus of the green magpie, found in southeast Asia