Title says it all.
Sorry, we read on the internet that using hyperbole, including questions, and referring directly to the reader are ways to get read, so we were trying it out. Look, it worked on you.
So, can you guess what amazing things been going on lately? Oh, sorry, doing it again…
Anyway, we now have our own domain – http://princesspricklepants.com
You might have noticed fewer things going on the blog lately. Princess has been a little grumpy lately. Many pictures look something like:
That’s her “I would like to stab you” look.
She warmed up a little tonight:
Then fell asleep on me:
Princess Sophie took a selfie with me and both princesses in it. Princess Sophie’s selfie is very fragmentary.
Then Princess Pricklepants fell asleep on my shoulder.
Oh, hey, the new domain also means that we have some fancy email addreses:
One for Princess Pricklpants:
theprincess at princesspricklepants.com
One for Haley:
fancy at princesspricklepants.com
One for the old guy:
sirsandwich at princesspricklepants.com
One for Sir Maxwell:
sirmaxwell at princesspricklepants.com
And one for Princess Sophie
princesssophie at princesspricklepants.com
So there’s that.
On Sunday one of our readers, Megan, called to see if we wanted to meet at Zilker Park to visit Barton Creek Trail. Well, when half your readers want to meet up, it’s hard to say no. As it turns out, the other half of our readership was also able to join us too, more about that later! So we took Princess for an outing to the park to see a really nice trail.
Once we arrived, we let Princess take a walk in the park. She loved it. This is what her loving taking a walk in the park looks like head on.
And this is what her loving taking a walk in the park looks like from above.
Since we were playing with a hedgehog in a busy park, people noticed. Mostly little people. We introduced Princess Pricklepants to potential readers. She was pleased to meet them.
“That’s princesspricklepants.com, yes, um, we registered a domain for our pet… No, I mean, no it’s, it’s normal… Really, people do this all the time… No, I’m not from a different country… Well, no, but I just think it’s normal for me.”
Here is Megan’s little one Bridget, also known as BB, but who we will call Fred, saying hi to Princess. Hi Fred!
Here’s Ron below, Megan’s very precocious progeny with Princess Pricklepants. He explained to me that he is a mercenary who would work for good food. We talked about owls a lot.
Also, if you look carefully at the photo below, you’ll see that there are actually two people in the photo. The person in the back is the kind and gentle Swarley, another reader who came along. Swarley is Princess Sophie’s pal and the other half of our readership. She is also awesome. Hi Swarley! Hi Ron!
We packed Princess in a personal Princess pack, and proceeded to port her on our peregrination on the path in the park.
Editor’s note: Actually we put Princess in a ‘baby sling’ fashioned from a long scarf. Perhaps we should purchase a purse in Purple Punch from Vera Bradley, for the potential purpose of private princess portage in a personal pack.
It was very lovely.
Editor again: What was lovely? The purse, the path, the park?
It was all very lovely.
There were coots and gadwalls in the creek. I explained to someone that coots were not ducks, but a kind of rail, with a very interesting foot adaption that I couldn’t go into much detail about since they walked away. And the gadwalls, well those are one of my favorite ducks. From a distance they look rather plain, but up close their plumage is fantastic. Here’s a gadwall dabbling.
I took a lot of pictures of coots and gadwalls, also some cormorants, and a few other birds. But this isn’t a bird watching blog, it’s a hedgehog blog. So we’ll leave it at that.
We wandered and talked about things, and looked at lovely things, and went over a precarious bridge, and sat on a bench and took photos that didn’t come out. We also saw fish and turtles, and I never said I wouldn’t post more pictures of those, so look, isn’t this painted turtle lovely?
That’s really what it looks like – no Photoshopping. The water in the creek has a really lovely hue due to the lighting, the light limestone creek bed, and probably some algae too. We eventually finished our walk, and hung out in the park.
We took out Princess P. P., who had been really patient, and let Fred and everyone visit with Princess. Fred was pleased to pet Princess Pricklepants.
So pleased that she pet Princess repeatedly.
We set up a small circle to let Princess play in the park. She tubed. It’s what a hedgehog does.
We set up a picnic for her.
She preferred tubing.
Princess played with Megan and was pleased to play with one of her fans.
Megan and Fred both seemed to have a warm spot in their hearts for the pygmy hedgehog.
And there was much holding.
Then something really exiting happened that forces me to briefly return to the topic of birds, because it was so cool! We (Editor’s note: he) spotted Monk Parakeets flying in nearby. Monk Parakeets are a species of parrot that can live in much colder climates than most, so there’s a breeding population in Austin. We (Editor’s note: he) could easily spill a few hundred words about may things related to Monk Parakeets, but will spare you.
Here’s one in a tree eating seeds:
Here are a pair grazing. Who knew parrots ate grass?
And here is one doing a precarious looking flyover. Fear not, there was no parrot poop pelting photographers.
After that we got dinner, which was very good. Thanks to Megan and Swarley, it was pure pleasure to have plentiful Princess pals present in one place.
The internet is full of cute photos of hedgehogs with flowers. I found one years ago and thought, “oh, what a cute photo of a hedgehog with a flower.” Here it is:
I made it my AOL Instant Messenger icon. This was many years ago. I cropped it some so it was mostly the little face and flower. You don’t need to know all these details. It was the beginning of me wanting a hedgehog, though. Interestingly Princess Pricklepants does bear a striking resemblance to that mystery flower-bearing hedgehog of yore.
Anyway, we were excited to have the opportunity to take pictures of our hedgehog with a flower. I was, anyway. Ideally we’d get a picture with a little yellow dandelion stuck behind her ear, with her standing in a cute little pose. Perhaps I could use it as my Facebook icon for a while…
She wasn’t feeling cooperative.
Princess Sophie’s help didn’t exactly help.
We tried adding in a toy truck so it would be more fun.
She didn’t find it fun. On the plus side, we got a flower behind her ear.
Soon thereafter she assaulted the truck.
OK, no truck, just heap the flowers, and put her near them? Still not a happy camper.
How can a hedgie be so grumpy about flowers?
Somehow shoving flowers in her face was considered an affront.
She definitely did not like this.
She worked on an escape plan.
Her escape plans got more elaborate.
Then she taunted us by posing with a flower under her face. She stood half off the green cloth to ensure my inner picky photo critic would be extra annoyed.
Posing near a pile, would that do? With bad lighting that’s way too warm and the whites partly blown out by the exposure?
Finally we got this one. It’s not the hedgehog with a flower behind its ear that got us started on this quest, but it was late, and it was close enough. Fine.
Photos of hedgehogs with flowers behind their ears are really kind of overrated.
It was Princess Sophie’s birthday, so we got Princess Pricklepants a nice present, a new camera. Say cheese!
She decided to photograph a lovely flower. She posted it to 500px.com. 431 people said “nice capture, v&f, please take a look at my photos.” How exciting! She did not look at their photos, though.
She went for a hike out in nature to see what might be found on her walk. Amazingly, she found a very rare Mountain Mallard.
She carefully set up her f/stop, thought about the optimal lighting settings, set her metering, fiddled with the ISO, and then switched to ‘auto.’
She took a few shots of the rare Mountain Mallard. It stood remarkably still.
She posted the new photo to 500px.com, got 315 likes, 220 faves, and 933 comments. Whoo!
Unfortunately National Geographic did not respond.
We were visiting our friend Victoria recently, and so of course I had to wander away from people and lie on my stomach to take photos of the hedgehog walking around. I have the mad social skillz.
Lava lamp, your green grooveadelic globs are so far out, can you dig it? Visiting our fried Victoria with her groovy lamp was a gas.
I propose that Jan. 30 should be Talk Like David Bowie Day. We could all say things like, “crazy, man,” end sentences with “you know,” use “far out” a lot. Let me know if you are in, man, it could be such a crazy scene, you know? Dig that poll below the photos.
ISO 1600, f/4, 1/50 – kit lens so f4 was as open as it got.
ISO 1600, f/4, 1/50
Some Bowie inspiration, man.
The battle lines were drawn once more, another day, another war. The Redvians set out to conquer their hated foe, the Blutopians. Blood would surely flow.
The secret weapon was unleashed! Cry havoc and let slip the hedgehog of war!
The secret weapon was rather uncooperative, since it was more interested in the back of the battle tower.
She was very comfortable there, so she took a nap.
“Um, hello, um, excuse me, so would you mind, you know, unleashing your wrath on the enemy?”
Those who wake a sleeping hedgehog quickly feel the sharp quills of pain and death.
She seemed quite pleased with the results of her rampage.
Sir Yorick remained hiding in the castle, peering out the window in terror.
She worked her way in.
Few men know the terror of an adorably pygmy hedgehog terrifyingly working its way towards you, a huge prickly-bear forcing her way through the castle door, getting ready to snuffle away viciously.
Alas, poor Yorick.
In the grim future of Princess Pricklepants there is only war.
If ever in the future you were looking for some depiction of the madness of war, we have one for you here.
The IKEA doll furniture set’s scaled really well for Princess. We have been thinking about adding it to her cage since she seems to actually like the couch. The slip cover is washable, and after this shoot it needs a wash. I often hide a small plastic red squirrel in these because I like taking photos of squirrels too. It’s on the IKEA shelf.
Photographer’s note: The flash managed to fill things in pretty well. I took a few shots using various settings with and without flash. It was late at night, so ambient lighting was poor, and I didn’t want to spend time setting up lights since we needed to get to bed. This was a quickie as Max and I had just built the tower (thanks Mom), so I didn’t get a tripod or the new monopod. The shadows on the wall are a bit harsh, though they’re the only place it stands out. We have a second tower in the works. It was a very easy build.
Whether you had any idea that I thought that much about taking pictures of the hedgehog, or were you were more shocked at how quick and dirty I was with the setup? If it was the latter you’re a photographer, and you’ll be thinking about how I could have better composed the photo, and that the colors are kind of muddy, and on and on.
f/5.6 1/30 ISO 800 – I used the kit lens, had to go with a bit more closed aperture to get the DoF to include the tower and hedgie.
Previously: Part II – The Long Louisiana Slog
Texas Touring Turns to a Troubling and Tiresome Travail
We left the behind the sad disappointment of the Louisiana Visitor’s Center and decided to try something we’d never done before – to visit the Texas Visitor’s Center. So we did.
On arriving they had this helpful warning:
In case you are wondering, that is Kermit in a “holding arm up to shade eyes while scanning for snakes” pose, rather than Kermit in a “holding arm up in alarm upon learning that the Visitor’s Center actually just prominently warned us about snake risk” pose, though if you’d like to imaging it’s the latter, then feel free. We try to be accomodating.
On arriving we also found the (now expected) disappointment of institutionalized pet prejudice. Sorrow welled up in the hearts of us all, but Princess Sophie borrowed a page from the book of Fancy.
Disclaimer: Please note that Princess Sophie did not smoke. Please also not that Princess Pricklepants didn’t smoke, nor did Fancy or anyone else in our entourage.
While we don’t have photographic evidence to prove it, this Visitor’s Center was also closed, so we weren’t able to learn about Texas and the interesting and varied things within its gigantic borders. There was a really neat looking boardwalk over a swampy area that we (for limited versions of “we” that do not include Ryan) were interested in checking out. I think maybe it was only a couple people who were interested in the swamp. Perhaps just me. Still, it looked like a great learning opportunity for the hedgehog. Yet it was not to be.
Suffering that bitter disappointment, I looked around hopefully for snakes. None were found. But there was a separate pet rest area.
Separate but equal being unequal, Fancy staged a sit-in as a protest, but wasn’t able to sit.
Princess joined in.
Kermit joined as well.
They got tired and decided to have a rest on the sign along with a small rock.
Fancy joined in.
The center also had a very large star that everyone stood near. The hugeness reflecting that the state is remarkably large. Here is the star from afar.
Here is the star quite near with Max expressing fear.
There also was a Texas shape cut out, in case your location was in doubt.
Disclaimer: Kermit was not in any way attempting to infringe on the intellectual property of the “Hang In There” kitten poster.
With some free time, Fancy spent more time in rehearsal for Annoying Private Ryan:
This was a really good rehearsal.
We arrived at the Visitor’s Center around 3:00 and left about fifteen minutes later.
Then we drove, and drove, and drove.
Reaching the border of Texas can give you a brief illusory sense of being close to being home. This sense of hope will gently fade over the many, many hours of driving from the border to Austin.
Around 7 we went for dinner at Chuy’s. Kermit and the Art Models were excited to find the Elvis shrine.
The Art Models were happy to finally get a photo in. They felt neglected this trip.
On the other hand, the kids were a little tired of the camera.
Th Annoying Private Ryan rehearsal went over poorly, even with the amazing setting.
Sadly Private Ryan was very tired of helping in rehearsing, and confiscated the camera. This was the final image captured.
Fancy was still pleased. Around 9:30 we finally made it to the outskirts of Austin a bit annoyed at how big Texas is. And so our incredibly long journey with a hedgehog, a puppet giraffe, and a famous frog drew to a close.
Part II – The Long Louisiana Slog, and Even Longer Post
(See Part I here.)
Since the last post used a lot of words and not as many photos we’ll overcorrect here with lots of pictures and fewer words.
On New Years Day we got up, ate, and then began the really, really long day of driving to get back to Austin. We loaded Princess’s home and all our baggage into the car and headed out into the rain. Within minutes of being on the road we reached the Louisiana Visitor’s Center.
It looked cold and not exactly inviting.
Fancy wasn’t thrilled.
Once he found a sign telling him not to do something he perked up a bit.
MUST BREAK RULES! WHOO!
As quickly as we arrived, we left, but Ryan was still annoyed.
We drove many more hours.
Kermit got a little stir crazy.
He began investigating potential risks.
Hours passed. Fancy also grew stir crazy as we crossed through the Atchafalaya.
Princess slept and we left her alone.
Then we reached the Atchafalaya Visitors Center. Yay. It’s on the west end, so we actually passed through the gigantic swamp before reaching to place where we could learn to appreciate it. We were fully prepared and rather excited since it’s a really interesting place.
We took Princess out so she could experience the place anyway.
Many things were closed.
And our old enemy returned.
Happily, there was a comment box. We quickly formed a brilliant plan.
Princess and Fancy helped to deliver the note.
Fancy was impressed at the brilliance of it all.
Then Fancy found his favorite thing. A sign telling him not to do something.
Kermit joined in.
A turtle tried to eat Kermit, while Princess watched in mild confusion.
Fancy tried to eat Princess to help her better understand why this was happening.
Kermit got a first-hand lesson in what it was like to be shrimp bait in a shrimp cage.
And learned how shrimp traps worked.
For a surprisingly long time. Prickly-bear learned too.
Princess visited the famous Louisiana Pelican. “Why are these famous?” She wondered.
Princess was attacked by an alligator, while Kermit hopped in to help.
Kermit was of limited help.
Princess P.P. visited with what we believed might be a Sandhill Crane.
She posed attractively on a nice piece of wood.
We took kind of a lot of photos, including one of Kermit in a swamp.
Princess fought the power!
Then we left, but took no pictures of us leaving, allowing the reader to build a dramatic scene in their imagination.
After a long drive and a civil rights crisis at various visitor centers we made it over the hills and through the woods to Grandmother’s House.
Here’s Princess and Grandma Linda.
And, of course, people held her like they always do.
And she was adorable. And there was more holding.
And she met my sister Suz. who was very fond of our happy fun ball.
Unfortunately Suz had made a grilled cheese sandwich earlier and smelled delicious. Very, very delicious.
So delicious that Princess, against her better manners had to taste her finger just a little. Fortunately we had the camera out so we were able to get a photo.
Suz., Sophie, and Princess P. P. also surfed the web together for a while and spent time reading blog posts about pet hedgehogs and other important things.
While there, for various reasons we went to Hobby Lobby and bought props to take hedgehog photos. And so the following happened.
It all began when Princess Pricklepants was wandering through the woods and found a wishing well. Since she hadn’t seen the new Hobbit movie, she wished that she could visit the Shire.
And so it came to pass that she arrived there.
It smelled fantastic.
And it almost tasted as good as grilled cheese sandwich remnants.
Then, for various reasons involving the plot Princess found a treasure chest!
The End. Or is it? Hmm, that treasure chest might come in handy in certain future pirate adventures…
Impromptu Hedgehog Fairy Tales might need a little more plot development eventually.
If you look carefully in that treasure chest you’ll see a Latvian 1 lat coin with a hedgehog on it that Suz gave us as an awesome present.
Many other things also happened since we went on a few outings with Fancy, but we already have a lot of photos and a lot of text in here so we’re going to stop adding on to it.
We’ve been on the road and will be busy with a family trip for a little while, so we’ll be going easy on posting for a bit. We’ve been documenting the trip, so you can look forward to a nice trip report on our return.
To tide you over, here is the pungent smelling human attempting some form of ape-like bonding ritual with Princess who is sticking out her tongue:
And here is Princess Pricklepants waving to all her fans:
Look forward to sharing many great photos of the trip on our return, and perhaps a few fun stories.
Princess got a new toy dump truck, a stuffed hedgie friend, a lovely Christmas outfit (to be modeled soon), a new hat and scarf. Her favorite toys – wrapping paper, bows, and a toilet paper tube. Next year we can just wrap a tiolet paper tube and give it to her.
Munching on ribbon:
And playing in wrapping paper.