February 2022 Hickory Farms Newsletter
- Editor, Bill Berg (Farm House Ln)
By: Sean Coleman
So far, we have handled the snow well as a neighborhood. In the first snowstorm, we had one pine tree fall in the lower common area and some branches on the northern path. In the second we had another tree in the sledding area lose some significant branches. Just a reminder, that while there is no County ordinance that requires an owner to remove the snow on their sidewalk, it certainly helps eliminate ice as a safety concern for yourself and others in the neighborhood if you do. The County does recommend that you clear school bus stops and three feet on either side of a fire hydrant. Additionally, to prevent ice damming it is important to clear areas near the street drains.
Even though there is snow on the ground, spring is right around the corner. Fairfax sees an average of a 12-degree jump in temperature during the month of February, from 42 at the end of January to 54 at the beginning of March. So, even though there is snow on the ground as I write this, spring is coming. If you have not done so, now is the time to lock in your yard service companies and start thinking about any home improvements you want to get done this year.
Urgent, annual HOA dues payment ($261) deadline was January 31st, any unpaid dues need to be immediately paid. See page 4 of the newsletter for more information.
PAY BY MAIL: Mail your check or money order to: Hickory Farms Community Association, P.O. Box 2239, Fairfax VA 22031 Ensure the property address is written on your check or money order.
PAY ELECTRONICALLY: You may pay by credit card or PayPal at https://hickoryfarms.org/annual-assessment. An additional processing fee will be included.
The Board is pursuing the finalization of a new design for Hickory Farms "branding" with a new more up-to-date lettering design and logo design. We will eventually use these for items such as a new splash page for our website, new and replacement signage in the Common Areas, our Hickory Farms stationery for business transactions, header for our monthly Newsletter, and possibly new or remodeled neighborhood entrance signs.
We will be reaching out to current Neighborhood Watch Volunteers to consid-er starting up again this spring as the weather warms up, more people drive, and more homeowners likely travel. Currently, about 40 homeowners have been volunteers. Driving slowly around the community a few times with your own companion on a Friday or Saturday night, with removable magnetic signage to identify your car, only takes about one hour to 90 minutes every three months or so. With the increase of minor crime across Northern Virginia, like walking through neighborhoods at night and taking items out of un-locked cars, the Neighborhood Watch provides a useful, low-time impact to the neighborhood. If you have never participated in Neighborhood Watch and would like to learn more, please contact Vice President Jim Bever at email@example.com, who is our Acting Coordinator.
BETTER OUTREACH / BETTER HOME VALUES:
This spring the Board will invite several locally active real estate agents to visit Hickory Farms with the hope that they will gain a greater understanding of the neighborhood’s value proposition. The agents will meet with Board members and learn more about our Hickory Farms amenities such as our walking trail, common areas, and annual social events. The goal is to educate the agents so they can better appreciate the neighborhood’s value proposition when setting sales prices and that we, as owners, can better understand how to continue to obtain higher and higher resale and rental values.
SOCIAL COMMITTEE – UPCOMING EVENTS:
The Social Committee has several planned events in the near term. Two Spring Cleanups, one for Saturday, March 26 and the second for Saturday, April 23. On Saturday, April 30 a children’s bird watching tour of the common areas with Bob Cosgriff and a week later an adult bird watching tour with Bob. Saturday, June 25th will be our second garden tour and on an as yet unplanned day, we will hold a Spring Community Yard Sale that Pete Scala has again generously offered to help organize. Also, do not be surprised if the neighborhood block representatives reach out to you as the weather improves.
LOWER COMMONS PATH UPDATE:
The Lower Path Ad Hoc Committee has been working through the winter to see how we can improve the drainage and asphalt buckling tendency at the bottom of the path in the Lower Commons area. They are drafting a scope of work for bidders to give us this spring for the repair of the lower asphalt path of the Lower Commons, to be paid from a modest portion of our Capital Reserve funds now set aside in HFCA's money market account for such purposes. If you would like to help or have questions, please contact Vice-President Jim Bever at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS:
Even though there is snow on the ground it is not too early to consider a yard service for your mowing and trimming needs this coming spring, summer, and fall. We have two com-panies that advertise in our newsletter for yard care and another for remodeling and other projects. If you are looking for these services, there is no better place to look than the newsletter. These businesses sup-port the neighborhood with their advertising dollars and help defray the cost of the newsletter.
February HFCA Board Meeting
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hickory Farms Board Meetings are now conducted using the Zoom audio/video conference application. That means that every Hickory Farms Community Association member can observe their Board in action without leaving home! The next HFCA Board meeting will be held Tuesday, 08 February at 7pm. To join the meeting, contact any HFCA Board Member or send a re-quest to join to email@example.com. You will also be provided with the Zoom meeting URL, meeting number and passcode.
Second Annual Hickory Farms Garden Tour
By Bob Cosgriff
The first-ever Hickory Farms Garden Tour held last July was very successful, so we’re going to do it again! The tentative date is Saturday, 25 June from 1 – 4 p.m. We learned a lot from last year’s inaugural event. One thing was that all the gardeners had a great time meeting neighbors—some for the first time—and sharing their love of gardening with them. Another thing is that it does take about three hours for people to visit all or at least most of the gardens. Third, we learned that July is not a good month for the tour because many people are on vacation or their kids are in swimming meets or other sporting events in the morning. By moving the date into June and to the afternoon, we hope to avoid most conflicts with other plans. Also, the weather in June probably won’t be as hot and there will be just many flowers to see as in mid-July!
I will be contacting last year’s garden hosts in hope of have all of them participate again this year. Additionally, I hope to add a few new gardens to the tour. If you are interested in being a host gardener for this event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even though the date is tentative at this point, please mark it on your calendar and stayed tuned for further details via the newsletter, the HFCA website, and the Listserve.
The Birds of Hickory Farms
By Bob Cosgriff
The results are in and our first backyard bird of 2022 was . . . drumroll please . . . a jaunty Carolina Wren. This is our first repeat bird since we started the daily count in 2013, when our first bird was also a Carolina Wren. The year started a bit slowly, with only 16 species tallied on 1 January. Then came the snowstorm and the numbers began to climb. As this article goes to press, we have seen 33 species in our yard, which is an all-time January high count, surpassing last year’s tally of 31. Two birds that we saw perhaps once or twice a year in the past seem to have made our yard their winter home, namely, Brown Creeper and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (a woodpecker species). They are here nearly every day and often several times a day. We have also seen three hawks (Sharp-shinned, Cooper’s, and Red-shouldered), both Black and Turkey Vultures, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Towhee, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. It has also been a good year for woodpeckers. We have what we call the “grand slam of woodpeckers,” which means seeing five woodpecker species in one day. So far in 2022, we have recorded 13 grand slams; on two of those days, we actually saw all six of the woodpeckers that it is possible to see here. We believe that this is the first time that this has happened.
As the winter progresses, we will add a few new species in February and a few more in March. Some hoped-for birds are Hermit Thrush, Purple Finch, and Fox Sparrow. April begins a slow influx of migratory birds from the south, and early May brings the largest number of new species through Hickory Farms, especially the warblers and other neo-tropical species. So there will be more to report in future articles. In the meantime, I hope some of you are putting out feeders to see what you can attract to your own backyards.
Looking ahead to the spring, we are planning for a Kids’ Birdwalk on Saturday, 30 April, 10 a.m. - 12 noon and an adult version the following weekend on Saturday, 7 May, from 9 a.m. – 12 noon. Both events will focus on the basics of birdwatching. We have some activities for the kids to help them have fun while they learn about birds. The Fall 2021 kids’ event was successful and the spring 2022 version should provide more birds to see than we saw last fall. Please check the HFCA website and watch the Listserv for details as we approach those dates.
Student Yellow Pages
If you offer services such as raking leaves, lawn mowing, babysitting, general home maintenance, dog walking, tutoring, etc., please email Bill at email@example.com to be included.
|Cody Dempster (17)||703-776-0101||Yard work, snow shoveling, housework|
|Lauren Turner (17)||Angmturn@hotmail.com||Pet Sitting|
|Shannon Turner (16)||Angmturn@hotmail.com||Pet Sitting|
|Nathan Turner (11)||Angmturn@hotmail.com||Dog walking, yard work and watering, leaf removal and snow shoveling|
|Kiera Stark (11)||firstname.lastname@example.org||Pet sitting, plant/tree watering, weed picking and leaf raking|
|Kent Codding (18)||703-317-7319||Shovel snow, yard work, leaf raking|
|Xavier Gilmer (15)||703-862-2192||Shovel snow; lawn mowing|
|George Codding (14)||703-223-4101||Snow shovel, yard work, leaf raking|
|Greysen Berg (14)||210-428-5535||Snow shovel, yard work, leaf raking|
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