Kate Kruimink takes us to Tasmania’s Huon Valley, to spend time digging for potatoes with her young daughter.
For contentment, dig for potatoes. It’s such a simple joy it feels pretend, like someone kind has gone ahead of you and buried potatoes from the shop like pirate’s treasure for you to find.
For digging to happen, though, there must be an alignment of time, energy, toddler cooperation and knowing where the pitchfork is. Dusk today, it happens. Maybe it’s intentional. Potatoes abhor the light, so it can only be respectful to turn them over to the moon.
My two-year-old has a focused energy about her. We work side by side in the potato patch with pitchfork and little red plastic spade.
I uncover three at once. ‘Look,’ I say, and stop my work so she can catch up.
‘Three tatos!’ she cries, and picks her way across the overturned earth to help. (I’ve heaped a little soil back over them, so she has something to dig.)
‘Good counting,’ I say, and look around for witnesses to her cleverness. There’s no one but the birds.
‘This is fun,’ she says. ‘This is really-really-really fun.’ (She says this often.)
She swings her gaze up and finds the moon, an incandescent potato in the cold sky.
‘Look! Mummy! Moon! Up in the air!’
Later, she will make her father come out as many times as he can tolerate to show him the moon.
‘Can’t reach,’ she says, stretching her hands, grinning.
‘Well, keep trying,’ I say, and boot the pitchfork into the soil again.
About Kate Kruimink
K.M. Kruimink is a writer from southern Tasmania. Her first novel, A Treacherous Country, received the 2020 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award. You can purchase her book online via The Book Room at Byron here, and read more about it here.
Conversations from Byron podcast
Winner of the 2020 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Prize, Kate Kruimink speaks with Emily Brugman about the characters and themes of her novel, about the experience of winning the Vogel, and where her love of literature comes from. Listen here.
These projects are supported by our friends at the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, who are generously funding participation fees for Australian authors, allowing us to re-imagine the 2020 Festival program. Please stay tuned for further news. Thanks also to our long-term funding partner, Create NSW.