Las Cruces Magazine

Fall/Winter 2015-16

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8 I lascrucesmagazine.com Strung from the heart Bring in the BirdS Nothing says from the heart like a homemade gift, and nothing says New Mexico like a chile ristra. These beautiful elements of Southwestern décor are easier to make than they look and they make fantastic gifts for both local loved ones and those that live outside chile country. Visit LasCrucesMagazine.com for a how- to video of Chef Ida Rodriguez stringing a traditional Hatch chile ristra courtesy of Melissa's Produce. Pair it with the more than 150 recipes in Hatch Chile Cookbook ($19.95 at melissas.com), then turn to page 23 for more info on our region's most famous crop. Convo Starters Autumn is all about bringing color to the backyard, and changing leaves aren't the only game in town. Kristi Lane, owner of bird feeding shop Wild Birds Unlimited, says our neck of the desert is home to, or along the migration path of, a large variety of bright-hued birds including white-crowned sparrows, black-headed grosbeaks, blue grosbeaks, western tanagers, desert cardinals, and cactus wrens. Attracting and spotting feathered wildlife is not only fun, it's an activity that the whole family can get in on. Here are Kristi's top tips for turning any backyard into a bird haven. Keep it a Bit meSSy "You don't really want to make your yard nice and neat; birds love it a little bit messy. Don't rake up all your leaves because they like to scratch through looking for insects and seeds," Kristi advises. She also recommends skipping the deadheading of flow- ers and, if yard space allows, creating an out-of-the-way brush pile for birds to shelter up in. reuSe fall pumpKinS Cut a pumpkin in half to form a bowl shape. Have the kids help clean it out, then make four holes evenly spaced around the upper rim. Place two dowel rods through the holes, crossing them in the middle. Tie string for hanging onto each rod and fill with birdseed. "Eventually, the pumpkin will rot," Kristi notes, "but then you can switch over to a more permanent feeder for the birds that are already coming around." decorate for the holidayS Birds enjoy yuletide décor just as much as humans. Turn any backyard tree into a Christmas tree by adorning it with pinecone birdfeeders. Wind florist wire around the base of a pinecone before coating it in Jim's Birdacious Bark Butter. Then, roll it in birdseed and decorate with cranberries or dried fruit. "Kids can do this project really easily, and it's a bit messy which is always fun," Kristi says. "you don't really want to make your yard nice and neat; birds love it a little bit messy." For other tips and bird-friendly crafts, like holiday wreaths, visit Wild Birds Unlimited at blog.wbu.com. More Tips More chile

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