The Hidden Almanac for
Monday October 28th, 2013
Episode 20
Previous episode: 2013-10-25
Next episode: 2013-10-30


It is the birthday of poet Maxwell Hines. We also mark the Great Averted Fire, and a damp cat. It is the Feast Day of St. Ursa, and in the garden, it is time to plan for Spring.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac, I'm Reverend Mord. Today is October 28th, 2013.

Today is the birthday of Maxwell Hines, known as the "poet of the desert." At the age of twenty, he saw a desert for the first time and fell in love with the landscape. The rest of his life was spent making pilgrimages into dry lands. Of them, he said: "The desert is uncaring and magnificent. It does not need you. For some of us, that is exhilarating. For others, who are used to being needed, the desert seems unnatural, and possibly communist."

In later years, he dedicated his life to preserving these fragile landscapes from development. The Hines Act of 1956, which makes it illegal to move or destroy a saguaro cactus, was named in his honor.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Great Averted Fire, which would have swept across the city, engulfing buildings in flames, had it not been pouring rain at the time. Insurance mediums estimate that the damage would have run into billions of dollars and loss of life would have been immense, as slums, residential neighborhoods, and the Houses of Parliament all burned to the ground.

Fortunately, thanks to the rain, one small garden shed suffered some mild cosmetic damage. The cat that had knocked over the candle that potentially killed thousands got wet and sulked in the garden for the remainder of the evening.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Ursa, patron of bears,[1] not to be confused with Saint Ursula, patron of virginity. Saint Ursula is represented as a girl wearing purple, Saint Ursa is a bear wearing light blue. Saint Ursa is believed to be a survival of ancient solar bear cults, while Saint Ursula has never, so far as biographers can tell, torn a man's head from his shoulders. Please make a note of it.

In the garden, if you're in a warm climate with few freezes, this is a good time to plant sturdy perennials. These plants will make use of a mild winter to develop elaborate root systems, which will sustain them through the brutal heat of August.

If you're at one of our station affiliates up north and there is already snow on the ground, now is a good time to order seed catalogs and break out the scotch.

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 the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Cucumbers. The SPCC reminds you that the cucumber is beautiful just as Nature made it, and doesn't require brutal slicing, brining, or quartering to improve it. Cucumbers: Perfect Just The Way They Are.

That's the Hidden Almanac for October 28th, 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. "ursa" is Latin for "female bear"