Search This Blog

Total Pageviews

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

THE FIRST SNOWFALL

    
COUNTRY ROAD

Tuesday, 9:00 AM.  30 degrees F at the ferry dock, 27 on the back porch.  Wind NW, mostly calm with light to moderate gusts,  The sky is cloudy and overcast, the humidity 76%.  The barometer stands at 30.04" and has begun to fall, predicting rain and snow sowers today and tomorrow, with high temperatures in the mid 30's.
    The first snowfall of the season is usually cotton candy soft, a merry harbinger of pleasant holidays and good times.
    The first snowfall of this winter season came in on a Nor'easter howling like a banshee.  It put me in a rather uncustomary funk.
     2017 started out badly, with the tragic death of my friend and business associate Jay, who was crushed to death by a huge cottonwood tree he was felling.  Sad news continued on through the seasons with the deaths of cousins and several close friends.
      This beautiful poem by Lowell suits my mood.


                                                         THE FIRST SNOWFALL
                                                             Robert Russell Lowell

THE SNOW had begun in the gloaming,
  And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
  With a silence deep and white.
Every pine and fir and hemlock
  Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
  Was ridged inch deep with pearl.
From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
  Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,
The stiff rails softened to swan’s-down,
  And still fluttered down the snow.
I stood and watched by the window
  The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,
  Like brown leaves whirling by.
I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
  Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
  As did robins the babes in the wood.
Up spoke our own little Mabel,
  Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-father
  Who cares for us here below.
Again I looked at the snow-fall,
  And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
  When that mound was heaped so high.
I remembered the gradual patience
  That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
  The scar that renewed our woe.
And again to the child I whispered,
  “The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
  Alone can make it fall!”
Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
  And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
  Folded close under deepening snow.

I herewith put my melancholy behind me, and promise to get in
 a better mood.


Monday, October 30, 2017

TIME TO LAWYER UP, LADIES

SNOW CLOUDS


Monday, 7:45 AM.  36 degrees F at the ferry dock, 33 on the back porch.  Wind W, light with slightly stronger gusts.  The sky is cloudy and overcast, the humidity 81%.  The barometer is steady, at 29.77". The high today will be around 40, then drop to the low 30's tomorrow.  Mixed snow and rain today, tomorrow and Wednesday.
   Yesterday, while out for a drive in the afternoon we encountered two separate doe-buck scenarios, both classic:  the doe crosses the road, followed by the buck, about 30 seconds later.  One buck was a spike, the other a 6 point. Unfortunately, I was not quick enough to snap a photo of either; that's pretty classic too.
   At this time of year when driving, hunting or photographing, upon seeing a doe, watch for the buck close on her trail.  The rut is on.
   It appeared as though neither of the does wished for the amorous attentions of the buck.  Both incidents look like clear cut cases of  sexual harassment.
   Time to lawyer up, ladies.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

UNPICKED APPLES



Sunday, 8;30 AM.  33 degrees F at the ferry dock, 28 on the back porch.  Wind S, gusty.  The sky is cloudy, the humidity 80%.  The barometer is falling, now at 29.77".  High today around 40, rain and snow tomorrow.
  It was a bumper apple harvest, and so there are many good apples that never got picked, even  as cider apples, nor have they fallen to the ground  to be eaten by the deer.  Seems like such a waste.

Old acquaintances die on the vine , left at times
like unpicked apples in backyard groves
Their purpose completed
Their value long since depleted  
Their help painfully unneeded

Saturday, October 28, 2017

NO FISH FRY


HIGHWAY 2 CLOSED TO ASHLAND

BIG WAVES AND HIGH WATER
SNOW
Saturday, 8:00 AM.  33 degrees F at the ferry dock, 29 on the back porch.  Wind NNW, light with light to moderate gusts.  The sky is cloudy and overcast but it has stopped snowing, the humidity is 88%.  The barometer is steady, at 29.93".  Highs will be around 40, with mixed skies, rain and snow through Wednesday, so there should be little if any accumulation of snow, of which there is a bit more than an inch on the ground now.  It is a harbinger of winter that is here several weeks early.
   We have had a classic Nor'easter.  The ferry shut down at 5:00 PM Thursday and was closed all day yesterday by winds as high as 60 MPH and waves up to 17 feet out on the big lake.  We went to Ashland yesterday afternoon and US Hwy 2 was closed at the intersection of Hwy, 13 and we had to take an alternate route.  It is the first time we have seen the highway closed due to waves and high water since we have lived here, although the gates have always been there, rather ominous sentinels.
   Last night was a good evening to stay in and we didn't even venture out for the traditional Friday night fish fry.

Friday, October 27, 2017

IT'S OVER!

NOR'EASTER


Friday, 9:00 AM.  41 degrees F at the ferry dock, 35 on the back porch.  Wind NE, gale force.  Humidity 88%. The barometer is rising, now at 29.7".  Highs in the 30's, rain and snow showers possible for the next ten days. We awoke early, in the dark, to a freight train wind roaring through the pine trees, driving a cold, pelting rain.
   Our trip to Duluth was visual testimony that the fall color season is indeed over for 2017.  A rouge holdout maple here and there still colorful, and of course some willows yet with leaves, but otherwise all is dormant, awaiting winter's onslaught.
   The last of the ninth inning has been played, and Ol'Man Winter has won again.  Fall ain't over 'til it's over, and ...it's over!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

TAMARACK


TAMARACK MALE CONES...

TAMARACK FEMALE CONE...

...WHORLS OF NEEDLES... 

...TAMARACK, FALL COLOR



Friday (posted late Thursday due to an early morning trip to Duluth).
   The two tamaracks in our Bayfield yard have turned golden yellow, an in a few days will be bronze and then bare,
   The American larch, or tamarack, Larix laricina, in the Pine Family (Pinaceae) is a common native tree of far northern Canada to the upper Midwest in North America.  Tamaracks'  preferred habitats are swamps and bogs but they grow in nature on much drier sites as well.
   Tamarac wood is very strong and was commonly used in the past for ship and barn timbers.  The needle foliage is very delicate in appearance, and is bright green in spring,  lush green in summer, and finally turning to glorious gold and  then bronze in the fall. New needle growth is long and pendulous, but as it matures the needles are clustered in whorls on the branches. Tamaracks are deciduous conifers, and lose their needles in fall; the branches are bare in the winter.
   Tamaracks bear cones, the tiny male cones disseminating golden yellow pollen in spring.  The diminutive female cones are red purple before they are pollinated, and look like tiny roses, no larger than a finger nail.  As they mature they bear naked seeds, which are shed as the female cones ripen and open.  As the tamarack tree grows, the fertile branches bearing female cones occur higher and higher on the tree, rendering them harder and harder to discern.
   The tamarack is one of my favorite trees, having a diverse beauty and seasonal interest that is difficult to match.  But, for better or worse, they grow very large, and are difficult to use in the residential landscape.

IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER

AUTUMN BLAZE RED MAPLE IN FRONT YARD

AMERICAN SMOKE TREE ON SOUTH SIDE OF HOUSE

VIEW FROM THE BACK PORCH
Wednesday, 9:00 AM,  39 degrees F at the ferry dock, 36 on the back porch.  Wind WSW, mostly calm with light gusts.  The sky is cloudy and overcast with occasional misty rain.  The humidity is 80%, the barometer steady, at 29.72".  Highs today will be in the high 40's, then dropping into the 30's with wind, rain and snow showers by Sunday.
   It is a dark, damp morning, but the remaining colors of fall brighten it none-the-less.  Maples, oaks and pines stand out against the dark clouds and dull  waters of the lake.  The red maples in the front yard still have lots of bright crimson leaves, and the American smoke tree lights up the south side of the house like a bonfire.
   Fall is like a baseball game; "it ain't over 'till it's over."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

HUNTING THE WILD ASPARAGUS

ROADSIDE WILD ASPARAGUS; BRIGHT GOLDEN YELLOW NOW
Tuesday, 9:00 AM.  41 degrees F at the ferry dock, 38 on the back porch. Wind NNW, very  gusty.  The sky is cloudy and overcast, with poor visibility.  There is a cold pelting rain that cut short our morning walk.  The humidity is 81%, the barometer steady at 29.74".  A cold and rainy week lies ahead, with high temperatures around 40 and a frost by Friday night.  The banana, the hibiscus and the orchids will come in off the porch by tonight.
   Edible asparagus, Asparagus officianalis, in the Asparagus Family, is a common garden escapee, often founds on roadsides and in ditches. The species name is Latin and translates as "sold in shops."
It has been cultivated for thousands of years and used as food and as a medicinal diuretic.  There is reputed to be a wild species as well but if there is any difference between them or if they are all garden plants I sure wouldn't know.  In any case all are edible and hard to confuse with anything else.
   Florists also use another asparagus species, A. springeri,  in hanging flower basket arrangements for their dark green, fern-like leaves and red berries.   The asparagus flowers of both species are themselves almost insignificant.
   Now is a good time to hunt for wild asparagus plants and mark their location so that the tender young sprouts can be harvested in the spring.  In times past one worried about lead deposits in roadside plants, but that is not that much of a concern anymore today, as most automotive gasoline has been unleaded for years.

Monday, October 23, 2017

END OF THE BOATING SEASON

MOST RECREATIONAL BOATS ARE OUT OF THE WATER NOW
Monday, 9:30 AM.  53 degrees F at the ferry dock, 49 on the back porch.  Wind SW,  calm with light gusts.  The sky is mostly cloudy and overcast, the sun struggling to make itself seen.  The humidity is 62% and the barometer mostly steady, at 29.7".  The high today will be around 60, then dropping into the 40's with nighttime temperatures near freezing.  The balance of the week will be a mix of weather and much cooler.  Bringing in the plants today.
   The weather is changing seriously now, and it is virtually the end of the recreational boating season.  There will be some sport fishermen still venturing out and some kayakers, but most sail and powerboats are already out of the water except for a few diehards.
   Of course the ferry will keep on running until the ice gets too thick to break, and the Coast Guard bouy tenders have yet to arrive, and commercial fishing tugs will keep working until they can no longer set their nets.
   It has been several years at least since I have seen a large cargo ship in the channel, and it is seldom now that a big laker runs to find safety in the lee of the Apostle Islands.  If we have a stormy November that may yet happen, as Lake Superior remains a dangerous place, regardless of the size of the ship.
   But for now most of the big boy toys are put away for the winter, many of them already in the boat barns that are springing up like mushrooms around Bayfield.  It beats me where all the money comes from,  as I sure don't have any to spare.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT




ASPENS ON HWY.2

MIXED FOREST ON HWY. 51 SOUTH OF LAKE SUPERIOR
TAMARACKS TURNING YELLOW AND BRONZE, HWY. 51 NEAR MERRILL

BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY IN THE PARK, MINOCQUA, WIS.

CORN FIELDS, SOUTHERN WISCONSIN
Sunday, 11:30 AM.  52 degrees F at the ferry dock, 50 on the back porch.  Wind SW, light with slightly stronger gusts.  the sky is still cloudy after rain last night.  The barometer is more or less steady, at 29.9".  The temperature has dropped sharply and will continue to fall during a rainy week ahead.  Time to bring in the plants.
  Our trip to Milwaukee was very successful, but exhausting as we drove home last night in the fog and rain.  We slept late, but a second and even third cup of coffee is a necessity this morning.  I'm saving my money for when automatic driving cars are available,
   We stayed Saturday night with old friend Bill Peebles in Oconomowoc, and spent a lot of time reminiscing about a lifetime of hunting and nature observation.  Bill has kept a meticulous record of every hunt since he shot sparrows behind the barn as a child; dogs, game bagged, shot size, gun used, companions, complete with photos.  It is an amazing record, and tells more about the environment than many, many a scientific tome.
  On Saturday we were fortunate enough to see niece Emily's seven month old baby at Joan's sister Marlene's home, then we attended the memorial celebration for Arnie Luhm at his son's home.  Lots of relatives attended, almost a family reunion, as Arnie was a wonderful guy.  Then the grueling trip home, made more palatable by listening to the Houston Astros beat the New York Yankees.  Houston will go on to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. Go Houston!
   The  fall color is mostly gone from the southern part of the state, although the oaks are more red and lasting longer than further north.  Large patches of sumac and dogwood shrubs are still colorful south as well.  The fall color is still good in the northern half of the state, the demarcation being roughly around Wausau.  Tamaracks are still gold and bronze north, but largely leafless south.
   Corn is king in southern Wisconsin and fields have been left standing to dry naturally.  A lot of corn is turned to ethanol these days (ethanol plants dot the countryside), and it is expensive to dry it for refining when using natural gas.  Years ago most of it would have been cut green for silage, now not so much.
    Economics changes the landscape; forestry and farming practices change our view of the natural world, and even where man does not intervene directly, that lack of intervention leads to fires, changes in water table and plant diseases.
   To paraphrase the ancient Greeks...change is the only constant.
  
  

Friday, October 20, 2017

DONE WITH APPLE PICKING


Friday, 9:00 AM.  57 degrees F at the ferry dock, 55 on the back porch.  Wind SSW, mostly calm with some occasional gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity 64%.  The barometer is falling, predicting rain tomorrow.  High 72 today, the record for the day being 74 in 1994. Next week will be cooler with mixed skies.
  We are heading to Milwaukee today for a memorial service tomorrow, so no post for a couple of days.  It should be a nice trip and we will stay an old friend in Oconomowoc, but we have lost a lot of friends and relatives this year.
   Most of the apples are picked now, and what's left on the trees or lying on the ground will be sold as "deer apples," bait for the deer season.  The bow season has already begun, the gun season awaits.  There are still plenty of apples left for sale but they will be gone before snow flies.

 “After Apple-Picking” by Robert Frost
My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

DONE WITH APPLE PICKING NOW










Thursday, October 19, 2017

HOMAGE TO FALL: POST V

OLD MILITARY ROAD

CITY WOODS

MANNYPENNY AVE. AND 4TH STREET

BACK PORCH SURVIVOR

MOUNTAIN MAPLE
Thursday, 9:00 AM.  48 degrees F at the ferry dock, 44 on the back porch.  Wind SW, mostly calm with occasional gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity a low 48%,  The barometer is mostly steady, now at 29.99",  the highs will be around 70 until thunderstorms Saturday evening.
   The  fallen leaves are beginning litter the ground and some trees are already bare, but the soft beauty of the season continues; red, green, yellow and bronze punctuated here and there in the woods with the jack-o'-lantern orange of mountain maple leaves.

November Night

Listen. . 
With faint dry sound, 
Like steps of passing ghosts, 
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees 
And fall.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

HOMAGE TO FALL: POST IV

MADELINE ISLAND AT SUNSET

TREMBLING ASPEN ON HWY. K

HARBOR RED MAPLE

OLD APPLE BARN ON WASHINGTON AVE.

HERB GARDEN
Wednesday, 8:30 AM,  54 degrees F at the ferry dock, 48 on the back porch.  Wind W, mostly calm with occasional light gusts.  The sky is crystal clear, the humidity 69%.  The barometer has begun to fall, now at 29.75".  High today near 70, the mild weather continuing for the rest of the week, with mixed skies, until thunderstorms Saturday evening.

SONNET 73
William Shakespear 

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
  This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
  To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

HOMAGE TO FALL :POST THREE

COUNTRYSIDE

RED MAPLE

VIEW THROUGH THE PINES

MADELINE ISLAND

CORNER OF TENTH STREET AND OLD MILITARY AVE.
Tuesday, 9:00 AM.  52 degrees F on both thermometers, wind SSW, calm with occasional very light gusts.  The sky is partly cloudy, the humidity 64%.  The barometer has just begun to fall, now at 29.96". The high today will be near 70, the warm trend continuing during the week, with mixed sun and clouds, and thunderstorms by Saturday evening.
   It continues to be a very colorful fall, although many of the red oak leaves are turning bronze or brown, so late fall color may not be as good as earlier.  Nonetheless, it is beautiful.
   These are the days when one is blessed, who has nothing to do but live.

“To Autumn” by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, 
   Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook 
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
   Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
   Or by a cider-press, with patient look, 
      Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? 
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,– 
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft 
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
   The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, 
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Monday, October 16, 2017

HOMAGE TO FALL: POST TWO



BRESSETE HILL ROAD...

...DITTO

RESTING ON THE FLIGHT SOUTH

TOWNSEND ROAD

HWY. 13 AND TOWNSEND ROAD


Monday, 9:00 AM,  43 degrees F at the ferry dock, 40 on the back porch.  Wind SSW, calm with occasional gusts.  The sky is clear, the humidity 76%.  The barometer is falling, now at 30.17".  High today will be around 60, then warming some during the week with mixed skies and no rain predicted until Saturday.
   Yesterday was a somewhat dark day for photos, but beautiful nonetheless.

“Autumn” by T.E. Hulme
A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And round about were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.
OFF THE CUFF
   Wildfires have burned thousands of acres of California grass and shrub land,  with the loss of thousands of homes and upwards of 40 lives.  That country will burn in a dry season, it always has and it always will.  If not started by a careless cigarette or campfire it will start from a lightning strike or the hot muffler of a car carelessly parked on tinder dry grass.
   Chaparral is so flammable that it is literally explosive. I remember being in the mountains outside Los Angeles when the volatile oils exuded by the chaparral smelled like gasoline, and we actually worried about someone lighting a match.
   People have built cabins and even expensive homes up fire-prone canyons with only one escape route and then rebuilt them after they were burned out.  Living in fire country is every bit as risky and illogical as living in a flood plain.  It is literally a matter of choosing the element for one's demise.  And that's all right with me, as long as I don't have to pay for the end result with higher taxes, or higher insurance premiums.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

HOMAGE TO FALL:: POST ONE

CEMETERY ROAD

OLD RED MAPLE

OHIO BUCKEYE
NEIGHBOR'S WOODSHED

PIKE'S CREEK VALLEY

Sunday, 9:00 AM.  Wind NW, calm at present.  The sky is cloudy after last night's rain, which left .3" in the glass.  The humidity is still 89%, the barometer rising, now at 30.23".  High today around 50, then warming during the week, with mixed skies and no rain predicted until next Saturday PM.
   We weren't sure whether this fall would be too wet, or too mild, for the best color.  It turns out it is a beautiful fall and will be at its peak for a while unless we get high winds and pelting rain.  I will spend a few days doing homage, posting the beauty of this  2017 Bayfield fall.

 “Merry Autumn” 
It’s all a farce,—these tales they tell
    About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o’er field and dell,
    Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,—
    I care not who first taught ’em;
There’s nothing known to beast or bird
    To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway
    With countenance distressing,
You’ll note the more of black and gray
    Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around;
    The sky is blue and mellow;
And e’en the grasses turn the ground
    From modest green to yellow.
The seed burs all with laughter crack
    On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
    Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by;
    A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
    Is bubbling o’er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills,
    Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
    And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun
    It really can’t contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
    The heavens seem to rain it.
Don’t talk to me of solemn days
    In autumn’s time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
    And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it’s the climax of the year,—
    The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
    Just melts into thanksgiving.
by Paul Laurence  Dunbar

Note: Dunbar was a nationally acclaimed black poet and close friend of Orville and Wilbur Wright 


Saturday, October 14, 2017

RED OZIER DOGWOOD

RED OZIER DOGWOOD FALL FRUITS

.

...UMBELS OF SMALL WHITE FLOWERS...
...BLOOD-RED YOUNG TWIGS AND OPPOSITE LEAVES AND BRANCHES

Saturday, 8:00 AM.  44 degrees F at the ferry dock, 42 on the back porch.  Wind NE, mostly calm.  The sky is cloudy and overcast, the humidity 67%.  The barometer is taking a nosedive, now at 30.23".  Highs today and tomorrow in the mid-50's.  Rain tonight, then clearing and warming some next week.  Fall color is at its peak but should last a long time.
    The native red twigged dogwood,  Cornus stolonifera, in the Dogwood Family, is a shrub common to much of North America, and is usually found in damp places, on the edges of streams and lakes, and roadside ditches.  It is used in landscaping because of its blood-red young twigs, but as its species name indicates it spreads by stolens, and can become very invasive in the small landscape. It also blooms well,  has good, deep purple  fall leaf color, and attractive white berries (the berries are not poisonous, but are very bitter). There are varieties that spread less easily, and those are probably better used for most landscaping purposes.  
   The dogwood species in general are interesting and colorful trees and shrubs and many should be used more for ornamental purposes.  Almost all dogwood species have opposite leaves and branches and simple, entire leaves, and these are good clues to use in their identification.  The native round leaved dogwood, Cornus rotundifolia, is also very colorful but somewhat larger and not as invasive, and is a great landscape plant where there is room for it.
   Many dogwood species and varieties are of European or Oriental derivation, including popular variegated varieties of Cornus alba, so if one wishes to use only native plants in a landscape some dogwoods are not appropriate.
   For more information on dogwoods, use the blog search engine.