ko: blackberries and biting flies

Lisa at dVerse challenges us to write about or create a ko (micro-season). Full specifications (which I have not met) are listed below:


Major season (sekki, of which there are 24): late summer dog-days

Micro-season (ko, of which there are 72): Blackberries and biting flies

This is the season of hot days when we are ready for coolness, but are unwilling to accept that summer is almost gone. Holidays are over and school begins just as blackberries are ripening and shining invitingly on roadsides.


Seasonal vegetables:

Tomatoes are ripe in the garden, squash as swelling into scalloped-edged flying saucers. But these are incidental now – because this is the season when the blackberries ripen. The hard green clusters, eyed in passing for months, are swelling and darkening, and our impatience for them is at last washed away by inky-sweet juices. We gorge ourselves, fingers stained purple and buckets overflowing onto the kitchen table. Tarts and crumbles bake, despite the heat, jams bubble on the stove, filling the house with the musky, dusky scent of these summer-end days.


Seasonal activities:

Work and school are resumed, there is no denying that the year has started now as we pack lunches, pat pockets for keys, phone, wallet, ID, before the now-unaccustomed and resented commute. We envy the pig, as she wallows in the dam, mud drying like cement on her sides as she grumbles at the heat and flies. A hundred of these fat black biting flies perch on her, a flock of feeding vampires. When I shoo them away they rise in a buzzing black cloud, only to resettle on her, and on my own bare legs.




A stinging slap,

a flat black fly falls, leaving

a smear of blood.

The specifications (more information can be found at dVerse):

“The format for each  is as follows:
•the title of the Major Season or Sekki
•outline why it is called that
•the title of the micro-season or kō
•outline why it is called that
•write a haiku that speaks to the kō
•include insider information on the haiku and include information about the poet (you)
•seasonal fish, information about it, and including ways to prepare it
•seasonal vegetable, information about it, and ways to prepare it
•seasonal activity, often including the holiday or tradition involved, etc.
•a preview of coming attractions for the next kō

In addition, there are images of artwork, drawings, photographs, etc. of the highlighted”


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22 responses to “ko: blackberries and biting flies

  1. Rob Kistner

    Well executed Kate, and I love the slappy happy piggie!

  2. we had black berries red and black currents and gooseberries. nice post ty

  3. I always think that humans should be more dog. When I read this great post, I think that dogs could be more pig! 😂

  4. We envy the pig, as she wallows in the dam, mud drying like cement on her sides as she grumbles at the heat and flies.

    Haha! That’s a reasonable perspective, Kate!


  5. Those blackberries reminded me of school days!

  6. Ain

    As long as the pig does not eat all the blackberries…but looks like too much effort….what a charming post, full of lovely detail…not sure about the flies on bare legs though!

  7. Haha,the pig sure is someone to envy! Those black flies,they’re total villains,you just can’t get rid of them,though! Nice haiku 🙂

    • Thank you 🙂 We always have bitey flies this time of year, but the poor pig just seems to have a huge number on her all the time. I sprayed her with insect repellent, but unfortunately put the bottle down for a minute and she ate it!

  8. Kate I was waiting for someone from a summer area to write a ko about it. You bring that time of year to vivid color. I like how you describe the blackberries, from “hard green clusters” to “jams bubble on the stove.” Imagining how good that smells! There is grounding in your description of how you get back to the business of work and school and then nicely contrast it with the pig, who is taking it easy, but always those vicious pests! Pigs are given a bad rap because they wallow in mud, but if we didn’t have clothes we’d probably do the same to avoid their bites. Wonderful ko!!!!

  9. Oh yes. School’s back! And I must look for work. 😦 Summer is jumping ship early if this week is anything to go by. I’m still waiting for the 40+ degrees. I’m suspicious of how livable the summer has been so far. Will there be a sting in the tail? But more humid than usual. We had that one blackberry pie. Need to get back out there! There weren’t a whole lot ripe where we were looking.

    • It did suddenly get cold! I’ve been glad to not have the 40C days, but summer does seem to finished early.
      I picked a few blackberries in Sutton yesterday, barely enough for a pie and then we ate them anyway. But there are some big patches around the Lake George rest areas so even though they’re mostly unripe still I’m hoping to get a good quantity on Saturday to start jam making, I’ll report back. 😀
      Good luck with the job hunt!

  10. I really love that… before I moved to the East coast from the west coast of Sweden, picking blackberries was a perfect activity when school just started. Here I don’t know were to find them.

    • I had my first blackberrying expedition of the year yesterday. 🙂 I’ve made two batches of jam this weekend, and eaten a huge quantity fresh as well.
      I hope you find out where to pick them locally!

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