Hickory Farms

April 2023 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Jennifer Maloney (Farm House Ln)

Urgent Need for Volunteers

By Ben Noviello

In order to maintain our common areas, support community-wide activities that enrich our lives, keep our development safe, and be responsive to the concerns of homeowners, Hickory Farms needs volunteers. We need people to join the board of the Homeowners Association, serve as block captains, participate in the social committee, and become members of the Architectural Control Committee.

Unlike many developments, Hickory Farms relies on volunteers. Without volunteers, we could be forced to hire an outside management service. Not only would this bring in people from outside our community who might not fully appreciate what makes Hickory Farms a special place, it could also double, or even triple, our annual fees.

Volunteering doesn’t need to take much time. You would be assisted and supported by an experienced group of motivated people. Much of the work can be done virtually.

If you are interested in volunteering, and by doing so help keep the Hickory Farms development a wonderful place to live, please contact the board by emailing hfca@hickoryfarms.org.

HFCA Board Meeting Notice

HFCA Board Meetings continue to be held via Zoom. Unless otherwise notified or due to an unforeseen change, HFCA Board Meetings will be held the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7 pm.

To join a Board meeting, contact any HFCA Board Member or send a request to join to hfca@hickoryfarms.org. You will be provided with the Zoom meeting URL, meeting number and passcode.

Lamb Mowers Coming to Hickory Farms!

A Non-Herbicide Weeding Alternative for Our Common Areas.

By Melissa Stark

The Common Areas Committee (CAC) is always looking for natural alternatives to help keep our Commons Area beautiful, cut down hand weeding and herbicide application, as well as encourage community engagement. This March, the HFCA Board of Directors approved a “pilot program” through the end of May to allow Lamb Mowers to tackle heavily weeded areas in our commons. If the program is successful, we will continue it through the year.

Lamb Mowers (https://www.lambmowers.com/) is a licensed and insured business that brings a small to medium size flock of sheep to the property to eat any weeds and can also imperfectly trim grass. Temporary fencing will be used to contain the sheep in select locations of our commons. A Shepherd will be onsite to not only watch over the sheep, but assist in removing any invasives that his sheep will not eat during the 2-hour visit timeframe.

On April 19th at 9 AM, Lamb Mowers will be here for a 2-hour sheep visit in our Upper Commons Area by our Boxwood Grove and Main Island areas. Please feel free to stop by to visit and meet the flock!

Resident Information Needed for Rental Properties

The HFCA Board of Directors is making sure our records are up to date for all Hickory Farms properties. For those properties who are renting out their homes, please email your renters contact information (name, phone number and email) to hfca@hickoryfarms.org.

Birds of Hickory Farms

By Bob Cosgriff

March brings in variable weather, the first signs of spring, and also the chance for a few new birds. We added Fox Sparrow to our yard list on 2 March, bringing us to 32 species. This beautiful bird gets its name from its plumage, which resembles the colors of foxes, being mostly shades of gray and red. A key field mark is its red tail. Like most sparrows, it spends most of its time on the ground, scratching in the leaf litter for seeds and insects. Of all the common sparrows here, the Fox Sparrow is the most energetic forager, vigorously kicking up leaves like a feathered excavator! Look for them in tangles of undergrowth in wooded areas.

On 5 March, Jarrett and Melissa Stark assisted Judy and me in putting pine needles into the Purple Martin gourds and raising the array to the full-up position, as if to advertise “Ready for Occupancy!” The birds typically arrive here by the end of March, but can straggle in as late as early June. Hopefully, birds will find our colony and move in this spring. We have ordered a predator guard and a lock for the winch to prevent unauthorized use and tampering. We also took advantage of the beautiful weather on 5 March to clean out our 10 bluebird houses. Many boxes were used over the winter by various species to keep warm on cold nights, leaving waste that had to be removed to prevent bacterial growth that could harm nesting birds. Bluebirds typically start building their nests here in mid- to late March. First eggs are usually noted from 25 March to 4 April or thereabouts. We will start our weekly census on 1 April. As a means of deterring House Sparrows from predating nesting bluebirds, Jarrett Stark is fabricating some translucent plastic panels to be placed over 2.5” holes drilled in the roofs of our boxes. Apparently, sparrows do not like light coming in from the top over their nests, but bluebirds don’t care if they have a skylight. So, we are running an experiment to see if this method actually works.

I mentioned that this is the time of year to see the first signs of spring, by which I mean the emergence of perennial plants and flowering trees. In July 2021 and June 2022, the HFCA Social Committee sponsored the first-ever Hickory Farms garden tours. This year, there will not be an official garden tour, but I encourage everyone to get out and about to see all the beautiful spring flowers and flowering trees that are visible from the sidewalk or in the common areas. The first bloomers are crocuses, hellebores (Lenten Rose), daffodils and the related jonquils. These are followed at the end of March and into April by yellow-flowered Marsh Marigold and Wood Poppy, which are joined by Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia). Dogwoods and Bradford Pear add white to the landscape, while Redbud adds its namesake color (actually, more of a pinkish- purple). There are several specimens of early-blooming plum and cherry tree varieties, as well as dramatic evergreen Magnolia and Camellia trees, in the neighborhood. Of course, the queen of spring in this area is the azalea, which comes in a dazzling variety of pink, red, purple, and white colors.

Many of the properties in Hickory Farms have beautiful plantings of azaleas, which are a sure sign that warm weather is here to stay. So make it a point to take an unofficial garden tour this spring, and while you’re at it, keep your eyes open for the many beautiful birds of Hickory Farms.

Newsletter Item Deadline and Distribution Notice

Newsletter items are due the 25th of the month, for the next month’s issue. Please send submissions to newsletter@hickoryfarms.org.
Newsletters are distributed via the HFCA listserv and posted on the HFCA website. Paper versions of the newsletters are no longer delivered to households. All are encouraged to access the digital newsletter via the listserv or the HFCA website.

Phase Out Sought of Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

Excerpted from https://www.ffxnow.com/2021/11/15/fairfax-county-to-phase-out-use-of-dirty-and-noisy-gas-powered-leaf-blowers/ and https://www.ffxnow.com/2021/09/17/fairfax-county-board-approves-first-ever-community-wide-climate-action-plan/

“The use of gas-powered leaf blowers presents a number of problems,” said James Walkinshaw (Braddock District Supervisor) at a past Board of Supervisors meeting. “Most prominently, their extreme and penetrating noise levels and the highly toxic emissions from the out of date two stroke engines.” Walkinshaw noted that the blowers operate at a noise level that could potentially cause hearing damage. He also mentioned that they are inefficient in terms of its output and emit 23 times the amount of carbon dioxide as a Ford pickup truck.

The board matter additionally calls for contractors that work for the county to begin transitioning away from this type of equipment, encouraged by incentives from the county. (Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter L.) Alcron said he still hoped that this idea of banning gas blowers would be also adopted by the Virginia General Assembly, but stated that the county’s adoption was “clearly a step in the right direction.” (Board Chairman Jeffrey C.) McKay acknowledged converting to an entirely electric fleet of blowers could be very expensive for some contractors, but hopes that the county phasing out this type of equipment is “leading by example.”

Join the Listserv to Access Newsletters, Notices About Events and More!

All are encouraged to connect with Hickory Farms by joining the Hickory Farms Listserv! Hickory Farms utilizes Google Groups to manager our listserv. We chose this platform because it's simple, easy to use and free.

While any email address works with Google Groups, we highly recommend having a Gmail account because it is most neatly integrated with Google. If you don't have a Gmail account, you can sign up for one at http://www.gmail.com.

Once you have an account, visit https://groups.google.com/my-groups to sign into Google Groups. From there, you can go straight to http://groups.google.com/g/hickory-farms-hoa/ and click the "Ask to Join." In the Reason for Joining, please include your address, phone number, and own/rent status to include in the neighborhood directory.

Once your membership is approved, you'll receive emails when they are sent to the listserv. You can adjust your membership settings - like changing single emails to a weekly digest - in your Google Groups Settings.

Please don't forget to review the guidelines on the Hickory Farms website here: https://hickoryfarms.org/hickory-farms-listserv. There's also information on how to post to the listserv, manage your account and more.

Finally, if you need basic Google Groups help, visit: https://support.google.com/groups/answer/1067205?hl=en. You can always contact the admins of the listserv for help or questions by emailing hickory-farms-hoa+managers@googlegroups.com.

Student Yellow Pages

Shannon Turner (17) Angmturn@hotmail.com Babysitting, Pet sitting
Nathan Turner (12) Angmturn@hotmail.com Dog walking, yard work and watering, leaf removal
Lilly Bucher (12) lrbucher4@gmail.com Babysitting/mother's helper, Pet sitting
Kiera Stark (13) commonareas@hickoryfarms.org Pet sitting
Greysen Berg (15) 210-428-5535 Yard work, leaf raking
Cedar Baltz (17) 571-398-1467 Dog walking, Dog sitting

If you offer services such as raking leaves, lawn mowing, babysitting, pet sitting, dog walking, tutoring, etc., and wish to be included in future listings, please email the Newsletter Editor at newsletter@hickoryfarms.org.