The Hidden Almanac for
Monday November 24th, 2014
Episode 188
Previous episode: 2014-11-21
Next episode: 2014-11-26


Today we remember the start of the Tortoise Marathon. It is also the day the Porcupine Tree was described. It is the Feast Day of St. Mugatti, and in the garden, there is rain.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac, I’m Reverend Mord.

Today is November 24th, 2014.

It was on this day in 1931 that the first annual giant tortoise marathon was, for lack of a better term, run. The steeds set out at dawn on a three-hundred mile course, winding through the mountains and valleys. Several jockeys have passed away and been replaced by their offspring, and the winners are confidently expected to arrive at the finish line within the decade.

And it was On this day that the naturalist Eland the Younger first described the Porcupine Tree, a low, twisty tree covered in sharp spines. These dissuade most herbivores, but hummingbirds like to nest inside the protective spines. Tiny plant fibers at the base of the spines can be plucked and fluffed up into hummingbird nest material, which is usually held together with cobwebs. The Porcupine Tree grows slowly and the seeds require highly specific growing conditions, so while they are not endangered, their habitat must be protected or they will become so quickly.

It is the Feast Day of Saint Mugatti, patron of writing desks. Mugatti was a furniture maker who served the monastery of Saint Curlicue, the famed manuscript illuminator. As the great saint slowly lost his eyesight, Mugatti built him a desk that could be raised ever closer to his nose. It had dozens of candle holders and was fitted exactly to Curlicue’s proportions. Mugatti was credited by the saint as “the architect of my earthly success” and was duly canonized upon his death. His family, who knew that the furniture maker was fond of wine, women, and even occasionally song, found this all very amusing.

In the garden, a sudden warming trend has brought down gentle rains. The gentle rain is hitting fallen leaves and turning the entire garden into a wretchedly soggy mess. The cobblestone paths are treacherously slick and the chickweed has taken this water as encouragement. The interns had been counting on the warm days to do the last few bits of garden cleanup, and are now cursing this idea.

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

Also brought to you by the House of Small Elegant Things. Come visit us at our High street location, and see our microscopic Christmas tree ornaments. They are very tiny, but very shiny.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for November 24th, 2014. Be safe, and stay out of trouble.


Out of Character

The Hidden Almanac is a production of Dark Canvas Media, and is written by Ursula Vernon. Our exit music is Red in Black and our into music is Moon Valley, both by Kosta T. You can hear more music from Kosta T at the Free Music Archive. The Hidden Almanac is copyright 2013-2014, Ursula Vernon.

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