Black Berries Matter

bowl of blackberries
bowl of blackberries

Black Berries Matter!

We got the starts for our thornless blackberrie bushes from Pete’s parents garden. My sister & brother-in-law (Ann & Dan) made sure we had them before they moved. As I spent time picking berries from our bushes my thoughts returned to past get-togethers and the people gone and some sad sighs escaped me.

But, the berries won’t pick themselves, so I continue on. I marvel at the abundance of fruit on each branch of the bush as I pluck the fully ripe off of each branch. The bucket is filling quickly and I feel thankful as I pick. There are complaining birds in the background letting me know that they would much rather be the ones harvesting these berries.

Remembering the past and how tight budgets were made me realize that these berry bushes were something that Menno Woelk very wisely planted. He chose a thornless variety of dark berries that were known to promote good health. Being without thorns was a great way to make harvesting their bounty enjoyable. The abundance in these hardy bushes provided very well for the family. Blackberry juice, jam, syrup, cobbler, and pie were readily available. Blackberries were so much a part of the Woelk family that when I asked Mom for a recipe to make syrup she simply grabbed a piece of paper and wrote it for me right there. It was a recipe she knew by heart because she cooked it so often.

It is amazing how a fruit can bring back thoughts of love felt at the Christmas gatherings, church programs, singing together and eating fabulous black berry cobblers. Singing Christmas carols for Dad at the hospital. Playing windup planes running around the house with children,  and holding babies. The 3-13 card games always ongoing and Mom crocheting or sewing quilts. Michael and his jeep stories. Stories about Milton and Donny escapades. Marilyn, with Owen gone away so soon.

Yes Black Berries Do Matter

There are an abundance of health articles proclaiming the good effects from including black berries in your diet. Google it and and see. Or better yet just look up some old farmer almanac info and find that the farmers way back when did know what they were doing.

Memories in a Photo

Photographs & Memories

Jean and LawrenceHave you ever noticed how a single good photograph can instantly trigger teleportation back into a memory? The camera was a magical invention. Photography has had that amazing power for hundreds of years, the ability to capture a memory.  This thought is elegantly presented by the lyrics in an old favorite song of mine, “Photographs and Memories” by Jim Croce. Song writers are a special breed of artist too!

I was processing photographs on my computer this morning, you know, naming and filing or discarding if it is out-of-focus or a duplicate. I opened  a family folder and instantly began touring my past and, before I knew it, an hour had passed. There were some kleenex involved with the images of people no longer here or are far away. Here is a picture of my cousin Jeanie and her husband Lawrence taken years ago. I feel these people are never around for long enough. They were just here visiting for a short time and I miss them a lot. 

People change a great deal throughout their lives. Here is a photograph of my 3-year-old son trying a lemon. What a great facial expression! 

Pat Sour FaceNext, is a shot of he and I taken in the Colorado airport in his twenties. Sorry for the graininess of the second image (“low-res” cell phone) camera. Truyly, time changes everything. Those two shots don’t even look like the same person, which is amazing.
Pat & Mom in Colorado





Dogs Wanna Have FUN…

When my family visits, they usually bring their dogs along.  Luckily, as a family most of us do love dogs! Here are Hilti (Sam and Jess’s) and Max (Pete and Val’s) playing in the kitchen while we visit and play cards. The other voice you hear is my cousin Jeannie (Sam’s Mom) on the speaker phone in Colorado as we watch the 2 “cousin dogs” play.


ORIGINAL ART For that special person on your list at heavily discounted holiday prices…

Contact me here… or simply go to our website Valerie Woelk original art to see more pictures and descriptive information about today’s special or any other art you may want. There are many paintings available for immediate shipment or pickup.

On The 2nd Day of Christmas…

“Hula Anna” K5206 – $50 (unframed)

Anna dancing hula
acrylic painting of a family gathering with hula as part of the event.

18″w x 24″h acrylic on canvas board. Acrylic painting of a young hula performance from artist’s memories of family and friends along with the magic of the dance in the past, …far away.

Five Watercolor Portraits Frank’s Family

Five watercolor portraits for the Franks family are now complete. See the final images below.All four portraits done...

Here is the couple, Marian and Noel Franks, portrait.

Nathan Franks Portrait
  Nathan Franks
Nikki Franks Portrait
Nikki Franks Portrait

The first son, Nathan and his wife, Nikki.

Damian Franks Portrait
Damian Franks Portrait

The second son, Damian.

Sarah Franks Portrait
Sarah Franks Portrait

The beautiful daughter Sarah.