Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Story of Unicorn Chicken (and a small nervous breakdown)

In yesterday's whiny post, remember how I mentioned a few things that I wanted to tell you about, but I was too hot and gritty to look them up?

In case you didn't get through all that whine, here's a recap:

* A Unicorn Chicken

* Green Trees

* Alien Crop Circles

The Universe is aligned against me now because of all my complaining and today my internet connection is so spotty, unreliable, and maddening, I might as well be in the 20th century. Remember how fun that was?

But whiny though I be, I have forged on and looked up the things that I mentioned, so that I can share my new knowledge with you and then I can promptly forget it because that is what happens to any new information that my brain gets its hands on.

Side Note: I would also like to point out that the Universe wants me to use Wikipedia, even though I am against it, by making it so, so easy to read. Why are the Science Fact-y things so hard to find and read? I like cold, hard facts, that are researched and proven and true, not just what a bunch of people have always heard so they write it down on the interwebs as facts.  
I will use a Wikipedia fact if it is linked to a source that is facty but I try not to even go there because I'm afraid I'll get sucked into the easiness of it and quit double checking stuff. Damn Wikipedia and its well laid out and easy to read maybe-facts.

The Unicorn Chicken.

Walking in a field in Phoenix, while it was 105 degrees, Himself and I caught sight of a greyish bird running into a bush. It was grey with a red head, not quite as big as a chicken, and it had a unicorn...uh... corn. (What is that thing called on a real unicorn?)

We only got a glimpse of the elusive Unicorn Chicken because he was fast and flat out disappeared into that bush with his magical corn. Plus, we gave up pretty quickly because we were on fire.

It turns out it was a Gambel's Quail and not a mythical Unicorn Chicken at all.


Gambel's Quail are a tubby, ground nesting bird, common in the southwest. They are mostly monogamous; however, the female can be tempted to form a "pair-bond" with a male who is not the father of her children, by offering her bits of food when she is feeling particularly taken for granted. I think "pair-bond" is science speak for "hussy".

The Green Tree.

I'll give the desert some credit here, by admitting that there are some pretty unusual and beautiful plants that are native to the southwest.

The Palo Verde tree is seen all throughout southern Arizona. It is hardy, drought resistant and very pretty. Palo Verde means "green stick" in Spanish and it's a good name, because it is very green and stick-y.

My dinky little camera doesn't do the color justice. The bark is lime green and smooth, wrinkling at the elbows where the branches bend, just like a person's.

The leaves of the Palo Verde are small, thin, and kind of fern-y looking. A lot of desert plants share this tiny leaf trait, it's called microphylly and it helps prevent water loss and keeps the tree from overheating. Because of the green bark, if a severe drought hits, it can drop all of its leaves and still carry on its job of photosynthesis.

That's pretty awesome, Palo Verde Tree, but I don't have leaves and only turn green when I'm on a roller coaster, so you can keep the desert and I'll stay in the truck.

Alien Crop Circles.

Let's get out of the desert for a minute, shall we?

In northern California, on I-5, there is a rest area just before you get to the town of Weed. (Motto: Weed Like You to Visit)

You know how rest areas and parks have those wordy signs that talk about landmarks and history and stuff in the most boring way possible? I don't read them, but Himself does and he said they mentioned some strange rock circle formations in the fields along the highway and that no one knows how they came about.

Sure enough, as we got back on the highway, we noticed them on both sides of the road. None of the pictures I took turned out, we didn't have the right perspective, I guess. But there were dozens of them, a perfect ring of rocks surrounding a gentle hump of grass.

Now, I may be on the verge of a nervous breakdown because it has taken me ALL DAY to do this post due to poopy internet access, OR there is some sort of conspiracy to keep this information away from the public (except the ones that read rest area signs) but I have no proof for you that these things exist.

Go ahead. Get on the Google and search for weird rock circles in northern California and see what happens. Nothing, that's what. And probably the black helicopters are going to start circling our truck at any moment and frankly I will be kind of relieved because this internet thing is just one big hassle.

I did find a story about a woman who picked up some rocks at San Onofre State Beach in southern California, that later exploded in her shorts pocket and caused 2nd and 3rd degree burns.

I guess my day could be worse.

I am hitting the Publish button now while the signal lasts and before my brain explodes. And I leave you with this thong that you can have for the low, low price of $12.50.

You can buy it here.


  1. What's wrong with the English language that they didn't name the Gambel's Quail "Unicorn Chicken"? It's such a better name for it! Stay safe and try to fight off the black helicopters as long as you can. The thong is 'lovely' ;-)

    1. I know, right! He could have called it Gambel's Unicorn Chicken, if he just HAD to have his name in there.

  2. I'm no scientist but I think it's pretty clear that the Unicorn Chickens are the one's responsible for the crop circles. Uni-CORN. CROP circles. Corn is a type of crop. Case closed.

    1. Are you sure you aren't a scientist? Because that sounded all kinds of facty.

  3. OK, now you got my curiosity up & active. Having been through that part of CA (Only once, but I'm very observant, OK?) I do know that it's full of fabulous, mysterious, volcanic "stuff". Sooo here's what I found:

    I know this is a long URL and that you'll probably have to type in the whole thing, but it might be worth it if you really want to know.

    Otherwise - well, Weed being named as it was - maybe THAT explains it all.

    Have fun!

    1. Hey thanks! What a coincidence, we just drove back through there going north and stopped again and this time I read the rest area placards.

      That link says the same thing, it's volcanic shimmying and shaking that formed the humps. You are a good internet sleuth to have found that!

    2. Thanks - with my constantly curious brain, it's just what I do. WOW, I am so awed by the immensity of geologic processes and I can't believe I didn't notice those rings in that area. Oh, that's right - I was too busy clicking pics of Mt. Shasta... good lesson in that neck of the woods, tho - DON'T fool with mother nature! Safe travels, you 2 (oops-3)

    3. I know what you mean, there's just so much to know and wonder at and learn. Too bad I don't remember half of it!


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