Sisters in the Garden…

Back in March my sisters, Sonnie and Jan visited, you might say we were a little excited.

The day that they were to arrive, the phone started buzzing with text messages advising of their respective departures, Sonnie had a 2.5 hour drive, Jan had a 6 plus hour drive.  We received updates letting us know where they were, something that we do to make sure everyone is traveling safely.

Sonnie arrived first, with Jan arriving a few hours later.  Bags were taken to their rooms, cups of tea enjoyed, and the talking began.  The day they arrived there was to be a street parade, in existence since 1957, the aim of the Maffra Mardi Gras is to give community groups in Maffra, and throughout Wellington Shire, the opportunity to raise funds for their organisation.  Culminating in a family-friendly evening with a street parade, marching bands and floats, market and food stalls, entertainment for all ages and a lot of fun!  This years’ theme was “the circus” and local trucking companies provided the mobile platforms for local schools and community groups to join in the parade.

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it was quite a warm day, so with the parade scheduled for 6pm, it was perfect!   We found our place along the street, and we couldn’t wipe the smile from our faces.

The following day we decided to visit a new brewery/distillery for lunch, it’s a fabulous place, set up in an old dairy that has been cleverly transformed into a fabulous venue where you can relax, taste some of their beverages and enjoy a meal.

When we arrived home we sat, relaxed and chatted, but we had planned to venture into the garden –  Sonnie and Jan were going to help me to remove the nets from the apples and pears and then bring in the fruit from the trees.  Gosh it’s a pain removing nets from fruit trees!  Thank goodness for Sonnie and Jan’s help, I must admit the way we did it was not exactly conventional –  we used rakes, hoes, whatever we thought would help us remove the nets!  When we were done the trolley was loaded and ready to be brought in.

I have no idea what we had for dinner that night, but I do know that Sonnie brought Pavlova!  I just love pavlova, and this one was fabulous, Sonnie finished it with whipped cream, fresh raspberries and a jar of peachcots from the larder.  As my sisters know, I am not normally a dessert person, but they also know that I could eat pavlova for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Mrs Collins's Pavlova
This is a recipe my sister has been making for more than 40 years, it was given to her by her late mother-in-law."
Category: Dessert
Style: Australian
Keyword: Gluten Free Dessert, Pavlova
Quantity: 12
Author: sbaskitchen
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp vinegar
  1. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of the caster sugar and beat until dissolved.
  3. Gradually add remaining caster sugar, beating well after each addition.
  4. When sugar is dissolved, add the vanilla and vinegar, and beat for another minute - only to combine. The mixture will be thick.
  5. Line tray with baking paper and dust with cornflour.
  6. Spread mixture into a disc shape.
  7. Bake in a very slow oven 125°C for 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Turn the oven off and leave the door ajar until cold.
  9. Carefully remove the pavlova from the paper and then, again, carefully, place a large plate over the pavlova and invert it onto the plate.
  10. Cover with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruit of your choice.
  • Meringue can be made the day before.
  • Can be dressed with cream and fruit in advance and refrigerated up to 3 hours before serving.

With Sonnie heading back to Melbourne the next day we had planned an outing at one of my favourite local places to visit – Walhalla on her way home.  I made gluten free calzone and packed a picnic.

The town of Walhalla is surrounded by beautiful forests and gullies, with towering gums and amazing tree ferns and is located on the southern edge of the Victorian Alps.  Beautifully preserved, the village is full of heritage buildings including old hotels, shops, school, churches.   There is also the opportunity to tour the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine and take a ride on the scenic Walhalla Goldfields Railway.

When we arrived we parked the cars and went for a walk, it was a glorious day, we  visited the old fire station and discovered how the town had been devastated by fires on more than one occasion, and we just walked and admired the beauty of the town.

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When we left Walhalla we traveled to another lovely town and waved our goodbyes to Sonnie.

Jan’s final day, she wanted to visit some of the places she’d heard us talk about.  First stop was the Art Colt in Stratford, a building that had been restored to be used by local artists, and Gary had assisted with the restoration.

Then Blue Pools, a place of natural beauty, and on this day so peaceful, perfect for reflection.

I had to pick a little produce when we returned home, Jan brought her book and sat near the magnolia, I didn’t know, but she was also taking photos of me as I wandered around the vegetable garden…

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It was on this date in 2019 that we lost our mum, and on the day that we laid her to rest, before I left our family home I took a some cuttings from mum’s roses.  I managed to get one of the cuttings to strike, and here it is four years to the day of her passing, another bloom opened.  It made it feel as if she was with us while we sisters were together, in a place that our mother loved – the garden.

Mum’s Rose

Sisters are different flowers from the same garden.


Until next time…

Love your family and

Bon appétit!




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