Living in New Mexico almost my entire life has definitely given me a deep appreciation (one that brought me back to the beautiful state after moving to Denver, Colorado for a time) for its culture. Full of color and steeped in tradition, you can’t escape it. When the bursting colors of fall start to pop throughout the valley, you are met with the warmth of the sun as the air begins to cool off. We don’t have harsh winters here, they are moderate for the most part. You can definitely get some good use out of your winter wardrobe, and maybe even a couple of good uses out of your snow boots, but that’s about it. You also can’t really count on having a white Christmas, like the songs reminisce, but you can certainly count on some traditional red and green in the form of chile. (It still cracks me up, when you type that word, spellcheck thinks you’ve made a mistake. That probably explains why so many social media posts, websites and blogs have our most precious produce and famed condiment spelled as if Texans rule the world – “chili”.) The chile ristras which adorn our homes, businesses, farmers markets and restaurants are said to bring good health and good luck. However, the original reason for the way the chile is strung was to avoid bird and pests from the previous drying technique – spreading the chile out on broad surfaces in the sun. The ristras chiles, with the help of the fall sun, will dry out and be ready for red chile for my family’s holiday dishes. But in the meantime I have mine on our front door, providing a most vibrant red, authentically New Mexican greeting to all those who visit in the next few months.