The Hidden Almanac for
Friday August 14th, 2015
Episode 295
Previous episode: 2015-08-12
Next episode: 2015-08-17


Today is the day the Highland Cattle Killer was found. It is the Feast Day of St. Wallace, and in the garden, there are ornamental peppers.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


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

Today is August 14th, 2015.

It was on this day in 1836 that the Highland Cattle Killer was finally found. Ranchers had claimed that their cattle were being poisoned in vast quantities in the summer months and ascribed this to a crazed separatist. Symptoms included convulsions, bloat, and death. The contents of the cattle’s stomachs had a strong odor of almonds afterward, leading ranchers to suspect cyanide poisoning. It escaped no one’s notice that the landowners affected were those who had been granted property seized from highland residents and granted to those from farther south.

There was a general panic, during which multiple ranchers claimed to have seen a shadowy figure leaving the pastures while singing separatist anthems and waving a gun. Locals treated this with the contempt that it no doubt deserved. Crown investigators were dispatched to look into the matter.

After dozens of arrests, a veterinarian finally explained that the new ranchers were driving cattle into pastures that were filled with chokecherry. Chokecherry leaves are toxic to wildlife in large quantities, and thirsty cattle were eating the leaves to get at the moisture. Chokecherries contain hydrocyanic acid. No native rancher would have done anything so foolish as pasture thirsty cattle in an area full of chokecherries, but they were also not inclined to warn the outsiders of the danger. The crown released those falsely arrested and two veterinarians were charged with malicious obfuscation.

And it is the birthday of the Affectionate Python.

It is the Feast Day of Saint Wallace, patron of stars. Legend has it that he was an astronomer prince who led Saint Maria across the desert, guided only by the stars. There is some doubt as to whether he existed, and hagiographers point out that no one in that part of the world at that time would have been named Wallace, but these things happen.

In the garden, many of the ornamental black peppers are turning bright red. They are attractive, but not terribly useful for cooking. Most of the peppers are extremely seedy and have an uninspired flavor for the few seconds before the heat takes the top of your head off. Cooking with them is not recommended. There are several very attractive varieties, however, including “Black Pearl” which has perfectly round black fruit, “Purple Haze” which has variegated purple foliage and black fruit, and “UV Shadow,” which has fruit that is only visible in the ultraviolet spectrum and not terribly impressive to visitors.

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 Scarlet Wombat Publishing’s latest self-help book by Pastor Drom “Recovering From Post-Pit Depression: A Memoir.”

That’s the Hidden Almanac for August 14th, 2015. 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 through 2015, Ursula Vernon.

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