The Hidden Almanac for
Monday November 4th, 2013
Episode 23
Previous episode: 2013-11-01
Next episode: 2013-11-06


Today is the birthday of inventor Marcus McNaught, and the day that Mother Briar published her seminal work. It is the Feast Day of St. Gaetano, and in the garden, the vegetables must go.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac, I’m Reverend Mord. Today is November 4th, 2013.

Today marks the birthday of Marcus McNaught, who invented the electric lightbulb after an incident with a taxidermied cat and a toaster oven. Witnesses report that he shouted “Eureka!” over and over again while his home burned to the ground. He patented it and made a modest fortune selling “McNaughteries” before far more savvy businessmen turned his invention into a household essential.

It was on this day in 1671 that Mother Briar published her work “Highland Home Remedies.” While the medical advice within ranged between useless and criminally dangerous, she included descriptions of more than one hundred common plants, divided them into families, and provided the basis for many formal herbariums to follow.

Unfortunately she used only the colloquial names, so a number of those plants have never been conclusively identified, including swallow-wort, clammy-berry, winterfat and sticky-up-bush. Nevertheless, Mother Briar was granted a posthumous membership into the Society of Naturalists in 1884 and “Highland Home Remedies” is listed as one of the first great taxonomic works.

And it was on this day seven thousand years ago[1] that the world was saved by a hedgehog and the ghost of a bird. Further details are unknown.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Gaetano, patron of flowering shrubs. He is usually portrayed as a human figure with a large hibiscus flower for a head. Figures of Saint Gaetano buried underneath shrubs are said to produce a bountiful bloom, and to curtail the aggressive tendencies of Rose of Sharon.

In the garden, we’re starting to get regular frosts, which means it’s time to pull down what’s left of the vegetables. If you’ve got mildew or blight anywhere, don’t throw the plant in the compost heap. Likewise, do not burn it and sow the ashes with salt. Find a happy medium between these two extremes.

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 Prevention of Cruelty to Cucumbers, now screening the documentary “ABCs — A Baseless Cruelty by the American Barrel Association.” This shocking look beneath the surface of competitive pickle breeding is required viewing for anyone who loves their vegetables.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for November 4th, 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. That'd be November 4th, 4987 BC