Dear Readers: If you enjoy the outdoors and the wildlife that lives in it, there are some easy things you can do to SUPPORT THE ANIMALS. The National Wildlife Federation suggests the following:

* Select plants for around your home that are native to the area. Make sure you have plants that animals can use not only for nests and shelter, but that also provide food in the form of nectar, berries or nuts.

* Have a water source available. If not a natural stream, then have a few decorative dishes filled with water, birdbaths or a small pot.

* Think about planting smaller shrubs and grasslike plants. Along with rocks and special landscaping, smaller animals and reptiles can be encouraged to hide and live there.

* Place birdhouses around your property, but also have plants that attract insects for the birds to eat.

Try doing just one small thing to help benefit the wildlife near you. -- Heloise

P.S.: If you are lucky enough to enjoy backyard wildlife, please be sure to be kind to them all.


Dear Heloise: When I need a rack (to put something on while cooking -- Heloise), I use the 6-1/2-inch-diameter rack that came with my pressure cooker. This particular size is perfect for roasting a Cornish hen. -- Andrea Johnsen, via e-mail

Good idea, Andrea. Racks often are used when baking cakes. And doesn’t a home-baked cake sound delicious? I have a pamphlet filled with some of my favorite cake recipes, like Strawberry Gelatin Cake and Mother’s Tomato Soup Cake. To receive a copy, just send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cake, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Put frosting on a cake as soon as it has cooled, and this will help keep the cake moist. For a quick cool-down, I let the cake pans sit on a cooling rack about 10 minutes, then put them into the refrigerator on a wire shelf. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Sallyanne Calvert of Middle Point, Ohio, sent a photo of her dog Jethro, who looks like a dachshund. He is standing up against the TV stand watching another dog on TV. To see Jethro, visit and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I enjoy reading your hints in the Abilene (Texas) Reporter-News. I read the one about buying flowers for the cemetery at a dollar store. I do this, but I also keep an eye out for closeouts. After Easter, one of the big chain stores had spring flowers for half off. Most were $1 to begin with, so at 50 cents, I was able to stock up. I keep a storage tub full of the extras so I have a “go to” supply.

I also buy inexpensive solar lights. I purchase the cheapest ones and use the tube and spike from them as a holder for the flowers at the cemetery. -- Julie Walker, via e-mail

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

, King Features Syndicate