Shakespeare, Pigs and Ninjas

Still on the road today.

We drove through the Mt. Shasta area, which could have been breathtaking, if it wasn’t for the wildfire smoke that has blanketed Northern California and beyond. 

This was my first time to see Mt. Shasta; it’s quite majestic at approximately 14,000 feet high.  I wish I could show you a photo but the smoke hid its beauty from the camera .

We continued on and ended up here…..

I’m sure many of you recognize this sign…only to be found in Ashland, Oregon.  Ashland is famous for its eight month of performances of various Shakespeare plays.  I cannot even tell you how beautiful the outdoor theater is.

How I would love to see Othello performed on the Elizabethan stage.  Oh well, some other time.

But let me say this town is one of the more interesting places I’ve been to and it’s impossible to capture in one photographic swoop. 

I have not had a more interesting time in years when it comes to people watching.  I’ll leave it at that.

The town itself is gorgeous with great restaurants and shops galore.

Of course because Ashland is in the Rogue Valley we had to have lunch at a brewery to try some of the great microbrewed beers made there.

I had to have the complete tasting menu so I could try them all. 

My favorite was the Double India Pale Ale (sixth from the left).  This was an unfiltered ale that boasted intense hop bitterness and was very malty.  Full of flavor, I loved it.  A close runner up was the unfiltered Marionberry Wheat beer (second from the left).  This is made from Oregon Marionberries (a cross between blackberries and raspberries).  The berries give the beer a great pinkish-red hue and a nice tart finish.

Thank gawd the brewery had a wall of toys to play with because the service was so slow.  It was alright though, I had seven beers in front of me…what could be so bad?

The town is eye candy from beautiful architecture with craftsman homes to lovely sculptures like this one.

But then we came across this spigot.  If there are boys and a spigot of running water you can guarantee they will turn it on.  

When they did a little old man came running out of an information booth with a cup.

He said everyone comes to Ashland for its great water.  That should have been my first clue.

He filled the cup and gave me the nastiest water I had ever tasted!  He laughed and thought it was hilarious as he pointed to this sign.

Read the last paragraph.  Yep, sulfur water.  It was disgusting.  The old man duped me and my day only got stranger.

See this creek, it runs throughout town and is a great example of the lush and green city scenery.  There was a path to walk on by the creek which is what we ended up doing.

As we were strolling, I started to feel like someone or something was watching us.

I don’t know what it was but it felt like eyes were everywhere.

Clammy eyes…

Horny-toad eyes…

Even eyes that needed some definite Botox injections…

So as we continued to meander along the creek’s path we found something sitting on the railing that just floored me.  I couldn’t believe it.  What were the chances.

Six pigs all about the size of my fingernail.  I have never laughed so hard in my life.  What were six pigs doing on the railing of a creek.  I would not let the kids take the pigs as I thought they were there for some special reason.  I can’t even imagine what.

I thought my day was perfect after I found the pigs.  It was so fitting.

However several hours later in my hotel room, the hooligans were jumping standing on their bed and my oldest hooligan starts yelling, “There’s a man up here, there’s a man up here”.  Of course he’s pointing to the fire sprinkler above his bed.  I am looking at him like he’s crazy.  I told him he was seeing his own reflection in the metal.  “No, Mom it’s a Ninja Man!  Look!  You have to look, Puh-leaze look!!”

I get my lazy self up, climb up on his bed and find this…

On the ceiling, perched on the fire sprinkler, is a tiny Ninja person just waiting to be found. 

I couldn’t believe I had another plastic miniature experience.  What were the odds?

This find might have made my whole trip.  I laughed so hard I fell off the bed and bruised my elbow. 

Since I always think everything is a sign, what the heck does this mean? 

I think I need to place Ninja next to the pigs on the creek path and continue the love.

It’s also obvious where the cleaning staff forgets to dust.

Post a Comment


  1. Philly 1

    Wow, that’ freeky.
    I say take the Ninja to the pigs


  2. Six Pigs and a Ninja….you have to name one of your new wines this ….

  3. I love your writing and enjoyed reading about a great afternoon out. What a riot about the pigs+ninja placement!
    I’m in Florida and that sulfer water is everywhere, you can even smell it in the tap water, worse when the sprinklers are on. Many filter their water here and many don’t.

    Your boys are precious!

    ~former bay area girl

  4. What a beautiful sculpture. I love the random pigs on the railing. When I read Mental P Mama’s response, I had an image of the label for your wine with pigs in ninja outfits – that will keep me laughing for the rest of the day:D

  5. Stephanie 5

    That sounds just like my experience in Ashland, oh boy 15 years ago. It was a class trip so we got to see some plays and had a backstage tour of the Festival. I remember Lithia Park. My friends and I thought it was so cool because of the name because I’m sure at the time there was a metal/hard rock group named Lithium or something. Oh how I have changed. I would love to go back up there, I felt a magical quality in that area. And I doubt that I would have been surprised to find a ninja hiding on the fire sprinkler.

  6. I go on trips while you go on adventures. I enjoyed this adventure from the beer to the pigs and the little Ninja. Perhaps the maids were afraid of him.

  7. Cue Twilight Zone theme music..

  8. Barbie with a T 8

    I just wanted to let you know that I look forward to your daily entries as much as my husband looks forward to getting the daily newspaper in the mornings. It is like I am living your life vicariously and I am having the time of my life on your road trip. Just think of the gasoline I am saving! lol I wish I was some sort of an interpreter and could tell you the meaning of the pigs and the ninja man..but cannot for the life of me figure that one out! I know I would have enjoyed the brewskys a lot more if I were there in person, though. Thanks for allowing us to share in your road trip. Barbara Thompson

  9. What a fun day! I love finding little unexpected things like that. I thought at first the pigs were from a Pass the Pigs game link to
    but they look a little different. I now feel inspired to dig through the boxes of garage sale stuff in our attic for little things to leave in unexpected places to surprise people.

    Do you know anything more about that statue? Who are all the people? It looks like they all have to do with the town’s history or things that make the town special. I think I see a Shakespeare character and an Indian chief. Then there’s the couple dancing and the guy signing. There has to be some kind of thought behind all that.

  10. Steph 10

    Those eyes in the trees are a little weird, but very neat to look at! That’s so funny about the pigs and the ninja! It’s a beautiful place.

  11. Mmmm…I love micro brews of any and all kinds.

    I don’t know which one is better…the 6 pigs or the ninja. Both were very awesome and extremely funny. I agree…you should take the ninja down and put it with the pigs. That would be very fitting. :)

  12. I love the little pigs! I used to have a thing for pigs (other people ruined it for me by going more overboard than I would) and had pigs like that that I would incorporate into random “art” pieces.
    Maybe it is installation art.

  13. Jules 13

    how wonderfully random

  14. Ninja Pig Merlot~ Has a certain ring? I wondered if you were headed in this direction?!

  15. Whitney 15

    Those eyes on the trees freak me out! Looks like you’re having a good time! :)

    link to

  16. Wow–what a crazy and fun town!! I want to go! I LOVE the tree-eyes! So cool! And that’s just bizarre about the pigs and the ninjas! The only thing I could do without is the sneaky old man that made you drink the sulphur water!

  17. What a lovely quirky town! Sounds like it was an unforgettable vacation day!

    I take the 6 pigs as being a sign of the 6 varietals your winery will produce that will become widely known and enjoyed around the world.

    The ninja…well, um, maybe he’s your family’s spiritual protector…

  18. Brenda 18

    My cousin lived across the highway from the ocean in Northern California. He had a special piece of drift log that he carefully placed coins in nooks and crannies. He checked it often just to see how long it took for someone walking on the beach to find the money.

  19. Lara 19

    I adore beer samplers like that. And I absolutely love the pigs, as well as the fact that you didn’t let your (adorable!) boys take them.

  20. What a wonderful vacation! Lots of exploring going on…
    If you guys venture over to the East side of the state, go to Baker City… Barley Brown’s Brewpub has the best beer in the state! They win tons of awards annually…
    And they also have adorable little tasting glasses for all the flavors…

  21. Amanda 21

    that is too funny.

  22. Trisha 22

    Too funny! The pigs and the ninja all on the same day! What are the odds of that?

    I want to know what your family thought out you taking pictures of tree eyes – or are they used to you taking pictures?

    My Hubby gets embarrassed if he thinks people can see me. I don’t care and do it anyway!

  23. very bizzare indeed…..plastic things abound…

  24. Elle 24

    Wow, how strange is that? Are you sure you didn’t enter the Twilight Zone?

  25. JulenaJo 25

    I love the idea of naming a wine after this experience! Or you could call it Serendipitous Pigs. Or Pigs on a Bridge. Or Pigs on Vacation! The possibilities simply astound one.
    The eyes, though…they were creepy. I thought they looked like flying saucers. (Not that I’ve ever SEEN one! Oh, no, not me!) lol

  26. Lennie 26

    I’m still giggling. First, Noble Pig finds … pink plastic pigs. What are the chances. But then the ninja dude totally cracked me up; I’m so glad the cleaning staff DOESN’T dust up there. What a great trip you’re having! And I love, love the photos — the “tree eyes” are both cool and creepy.

  27. Alisa 27

    That is really neat. Nothing that cool ever happens to me! Those tree eyes would creep me though. Maybe you need to change your name to Ninja Pig, or Pig Ninja, or, yeah, I’ll shut up now.

  28. Teri 28

    My husband always laughs at me because I’ve always believed everything is a sign… after 20 years of being with me, he’s now a believer! Ninja’s and six pigs, and all the eyes on the trees. That’s funny! Who know’s where your adventurous trip will take you next! Great pictures as always! Have fun on your trip!

  29. I still can’t figure out how you do it?
    I spend an hour trying to get one decent photo and that is all you have! :) Very nice!

  30. And you thought the trees were the only thing watching you!

  31. It’s like you are on a plastic figurine scavenger hunt!

  32. sommer 32

    You have to go to the co-op it is wonderful. We live in Bend and love to make that trip down there. Definatly interesting town (Ashland)Oh and at the co-op kids get free bananas while they shop. The water was gross, huh. I almost got sick. Brewpub has garbanzo bean fries last time we were there, Yummy!

  33. grace 33

    your kids are just too cute for words. also, you must let us know if you ever find out anything about the random miniature figurines. baffling.

  34. That is awesome. I’d sleep well knowing you’re being protected by a ninja. Although tiny, that ninja looks rather skillful. ;)

  35. Oh my Lord, that is HYSTERICAL! Maybe it means that Pat of pancetta-fame is going to slaughter a pig in your name in the near future . . .

    Shasta is gorgeous, by the way, I hope you get to see it in the future. We were camping on the Rogue River a few years ago during some nasty, nasty fires that were only a few dozen miles from the campsite and could barely see the trees in front of us. So I’m glad to see it at least looks clear for you up there!

  36. That is sooo funny! I loved the Ninja the most I think. Wonder how long that’s been there?

    You should consider a houseboat vacation on Lake Shasta. Such a blast!

  37. Alanna 37

    Too funny! I can only hope my vacation is half as interesting as yours seems to be! :)

  38. Lisa 38

    Great post! Ashland is fun. We were there last week and the food was good, the weather was gorgeous and we saw a great play, “The Clay Cart.” It was a wonderful experience even without the plastic toy serendipity!

  39. I agree with the poster who said “Six pigs and a Ninja” would be a great name for a wine!!

    Six pigs – that’s a sign of something, for sure!

  40. HoneyB 40

    How weird! I mean, the pig thing, well I could pass that off, but then to have the ninja too? Yeah, I am up with you – its a sign of some kind! :-D

  41. leslie 41

    Maybe the ninja was on the hunt for the little make my “Crazy good Pork Tenderloin” LOL!

  42. Oh, the people of Ashland. Ha, ha, ha… all that creativity comes from somewhere, and it’s not always expressed through Shakespeare.

  43. Laura 43

    Unbelievably funny.

  44. Paula 44

    Welcome to Oregon! Hopefully the little Ninja isn’t the glow in the dark variety … that would be fun to wake up to at 2:00 am! Enjoy your stay in this beautiful state … hope you can swing by the coast. It’s gorgeous and the entire coast line is accessible to the public and free of charge! Plus, there’s sure to be another mystery figurine just waiting to be discovered somewhere near the sea!

  45. I’m laughing right along with you (but taking care to remain seated and avoid injury — ouch!). I can just see the headlines: Pigs and Ninja Rival Shakespeare for the Most Memorable Moments on Family Holiday. Your blog is refreshingly zany and so entertaining. I’m so glad I popped in. : )

  46. You really have a way about you Cathy! Another very entertaining post.

    Shasta is great…or at least that is how I remember it. It has been too long.

    And your flight of beers look DELICIOUS!

    Regarding the pigs & the ninja…well, a cool & strange coincidence that I would not look too deeply into.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!!

  47. Jessalee 47

    I’ve only been reading your blog a short time, but imagine my surprise when I read this! I live 20 minutes from Ashland in Central Point, and I feel much the same way about Ashland. Same county but oh-so different at times!

    And the smoke — ah, the smoke. It’s awful here in the Valley now. Too bad you didn’t get a better view of Mt. Shasta. It is gorgeous!

    So glad you enjoyed your stay, quirky pig and ninja minis and all!

  48. Humm what does it all mean? Maybe their are still hippies out there smokin stuff and giggling and playing tricks with peoples heads. Yeah move the ninja and paint some spots on the pigs, turn them around or thing of something zany and clever to shake it up a bit. Sounds like fun

  49. Lori 49

    What a hilarious day! That sampler you had at the brewery must have hit the spot! :)

  50. Tipper 50

    You know I love the pigs!! Glad your having a good trip.

  51. The sign: You need to kick some pork butt for your next recipe entry?
    All in favor?
    The eyes have it!

    It’s not late, I’m not tired, there’s no excuse for my stupid comment– I did smash my car, does that count?

  52. Those piglets and ninja were the most charming things ever!

  53. Leslie 53

    There’s an artist who leaves tiny models of people in random places. I believe the original is from the UK (link to but there have been many copycats. Your ninja and pigs are probably someone’s surreal art project ^_^

  54. Harmony 54

    That would be awesome!!!

  55. Chinya 55

    I agree, this is inspiration for your next recipe! Maybe Ninja spiced pork chops with a kick?

  56. I also agree…if you see signs such as these…it is the Universe telling ya something…listen close! :)

    Great photos!
    Hope you enjoyed your trip…

  57. Sandie 57

    The pigs and ninja guy are definitely an omen… a sign that childlike fun and humor is still alive and well in this crazy, beautiful world!

    As far as the possible wine name… I’d like to suggest “Six Pigs and Ninja Nights.” I don’t know why, it just has a certain ring.

    Finding all those little plastic figurines makes you wonder if the same person happened to leave them, but regardless, what a fun idea. I love little surprises like that, as they can really change your mindset!

    There’s a great micro-brewery I’m planning to visit on my upcoming trip. While we’re sampling their offerings, I’ll be sure to take photos and share with you too!

  58. Vonda 58

    I just love Ashland. It is a really fun place to visit and you are right about the people watching part. One of my favorite things to do is watch people…I think I got this habit from my dad who would wait in the car with us while our mom grocery shopped and make us laugh by turning up the music on the radio and tell to watch how the people seemed to be moving to the music. Hilarious. The pigs? And Ninja? What kind of message are you supposed to be getting I wonder. Funny.

  59. I have to tell you. I was totally amused already… but the six pigs on the railing put everything over the edge.

    What a great adventure :)

  60. Flea 60

    This is the best post EVER! The Ninja man is the BEST!!! You totally did the right thing by leaving the pigs. It’s like Gulliver’s Travels and the land of hte Lilliputians!

  61. Natty 61

    Dude! My dad played the EXACT SAME TRICK on me when I was a kid! That water is NASTY.

  62. megan 62

    Hey, you passed right by my little city. I live in Redding. Smokey Redding!
    Love the pigs! I bet it was hard for the hooligans to pass them by. :)

  63. What a neat experience for you, Cathy! Quite a lunch you had, with all those beverages. How much of each one did you end up drinking? The pink piggys in the rail were uncanny! And then the ninja on the sprinkler… Amazing!

  64. That is just too awesome… or strange, but as far as posting it – so crazy!


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