LIFE* [with craig & heather] * live - inspire - forage - explore
Welcome to the first of many journeys down the path called ‘LIFE’ with myself Heather Ross & my companion Craig Anderl. Together we aim to inspire you with our photographs, words, & moving images, to live a creative & abundant life - one that connects you to nature, artistry & beauty. My background is in fine art, photography, & design, & I have my own gallery/ boutique, Heather Ross [ in house ]. Combined with Craig’s experience in film-making, building & multimedia, we do know a thing or two and hope that you will enjoy our ‘he said, she said’ take on things. Together we share a deep appreciation of good food from the earth - growing, cooking & tasting it! We also share an endless curiosity about life, animals & the natural world, so the bounty of topics we hope to explore is endless! Craig & I invite you to join us on our travels through the urban landscape & out into the enchanting countryside in search of antiques finds, found objects, locally grown fare & simple elements that can bring meaning & texture into daily life. We will offer an eclectic view, revealing the appeal of both modern living & a more rustic way of life. Along the way we’ll introduce you to artisans, entrepreneurs & designers each with their own gems of knowledge to share. We have both traveled afar in our lives & hope to continue discovering different cultures & new experiences while capturing imagery to illuminate, inform & inspire. We’re allowing for a good measure of serendipity as we venture off the beaten path & sometimes we might just have something silly to share for a little levity! We hope you will enjoy coming along on our adventure!
Stay tuned for our upcoming story “A is for Apple” - a chronicle of our recent trip to the South Okanagan for the fall harvest.
A is for Apples For our first story, we decided to head to the Okanagan Valley area of BC for the fall harvest season on a quest for the perfect apple. For me apples have always represented comfort & making pies is one of my favorite things to do. Anyone selling their house knows the smell of fresh baked bread or warm apples evokes an inviting sense of home so this seemed a like a good place to begin. We also wanted to experience the beautiful Indian summer atmosphere of the interior desert landscape found in the Osoyoos/Oliver region of the South Okanagan Valley. While many are drawn to the glorious vibrant colors of fall, I have always preferred a gentler cooler palette, so I went in search of my own gentler version of an autumn color story. Of course, Iâ€™m always on the hunt for quirky antiques for my shop & my home, so that was on the agenda too. We headed off from Vancouver on a surly Sunday morning en route to Osoyoos with the nip in the air reminding us that the fall equinox was just days away. Ok, I admit it, I am a summer girlâ€ŚI like heat, sunshine & long days beach-combing in flipflops. The only way I can surrender to fall is to fully embrace it. You know, get out the grey cashmere sweater, whip up some hot chocolate with a good dashing of nutmeg & head out hand in hand into the tumble of leaves. So cozying up with Craig on an orchard pilgrimage was a great way to start the new season. A quick stop in Manning Park for a coffee brought back fond childhood memories of feeding the whisky jacks in the snowy hill. Handsome in their grey feathered coats, they perched in the trees above hoping for some crumbs to fall from our bagels as a massive raven hop-hop-hopped at our feet.
Driving along we felt a subtle change in the terrain & soon the mountains flattened just before Keremeos, where the Mariposa fruit stand greeted us with the most boastful display of pumpkins & gourds in exotic shades & textures. Pumpkins like this I had
never seen before… pink barnacled ones, large ashen blue varietals & striped miniature versions. There of course were also bins & bins of luscious fresh picked fruit; peaches, pears, plums, & over 10 shades of apple. We did in fact find, what we think is the best Macintosh either one of us had ever tasted at this very first stop. Very crisp & crunchy, tangy & tart yet still juicy sweet. This first tasting has yet to be rivaled. The landscape became more expansive & desert like as we neared our destination. Vibrant fruit trees & lush vineyards cut dramatic swaths into the horizon. We passed through OK Falls with the hopes of checking out a funky antique shop we remembered. Alas it was closed. Sign said open…but NOT. However we did discover the most amazing unruly sunflower garden growing along the side of the shop. We were happy to see many bees. Next door we had great fish & chips. They reminded me of my dad’s beer batter version whipped up at the cabin after a day of fishing. One order fed the two of us (3 huge pieces of fish). We sat with the locals & pined for the last piece of homemade pecan pie that was delivered to our neighbors & then made our way to our resort destination.
We stayed at the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa the N’k Mip Resort. Our nicely appointed room offered a view of the vineyards that stretched all the way down to the lake. Lavender, black sagebrush & soft grasses dotted the hillside & filled the air with a sweet earthy scent. The grapes that come from this distinct micro climate known as The Black Sage Region are found in some of the best BC wines. Check out Nk’Mip wineries for a tour & tasting & pick up some great reds – we recommend trying the hard to find award winning VQA Qwam Qwmt Cabernet Sauvingnon. The grey skies even brightened for a moment to allow a crimson sunset as we enjoyed a glass of wine on our balcony. I would have loved just to sit in our soaker tub on the deck & fade away into the evening, but mustered the my energy to go visit a hip spot Bibo recently opened by Craig’s friends on the main strip of Osoyoos. This wine bar boasts a dramatic interior designed by Trevor Furmanek, who also designed the atmospheric PassaTempo vineyard restaurant at our resort. He cleverly added texture & form to the room by installing a wall mural of simply constructed with white painted branches.
The next morning we enjoyed a croissant French toast drizzled with Saskatoon berries & mascarpone cream there as we plotted our days adventure. We strolled down the desert walk path on the grounds & I found inspiration I had been seeking in the soft s&y tones of the earth & the native foliage that sprung up everywhere. This is where I found my desert Indian summer palette. Feathery fronds of grasses in warm â€˜biscuityâ€™ colors, faded corals in the falling leaves, silvery weathered branches punctuated with lichen, earthy clay, & of course rosy ripening fruit in the background of the open sky, which was clear for us that day & reflected upon the still waters like a brilliant bronzed blue. We decided to journey up Anarchist Mountain (great views of Lake Osoyoos & the valley) & headed toward the rock creek area, a rugged stretch of land with vast ranches & golden hills in the Boundary Region. After a great coffee at Rock Creek Roasters (a fair trade artisan roaster), we veered off to follow the Rock Creek north towards Westbridge. We pulled over to visit the most lovely chocolate brown horse that met us with eager nods of his head requesting handfuls of grass. We in turn discovered handfuls of pine-cones at the roads edge which we gathered up along with bright chartreuse bits of lichen that had fallen from the boughs above. Out of nowhere the cutest orange tabby appeared out of the long golden grasses & joined our little party. We then journeyed along until we discovered the Old Cowboy Ranch - a riverside campground/peacock farm/antique shop/ranch etc...nestled in the picturesque valley. Here amongst the peacocks, emus, goats, horses, & old dogs, we found a number of eclectic finds to take home from the shop, including old milking stools, an Italian lamp & an old Indonesian architectural carving of a dragon.
Our weekend treasure hunt yielded a car full of fruit & snowwhite pumpkins, a pair of antlers, a handful of large feathers, a bag of pine-cones, some great bottles of wine & many moments that would become cherished memories to share together over a generous helping of warm apple pie. Cheers, Heather & Craig