Hickory Farms

January 2020 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Bill Berg (Farm House Ln)

Your $250 Hickory Farms Annual Assessment (dues) was due on January 1.

We notify you in several ways: 1) at least three emails November-December using individual email addresses; 2) the Hickory Farms newsletter; 3) large colored postcards that are mailed First Class to each resident homeowner and each absentee homeowner who has given their contact information to the Board of Directors; and 4) the Hickory Farms Listserv email group. If you haven’t joined, please do so at https://hickoryfarms.org/hickory-farms-listserv.

The Annual Assessment should have been paid by the person who owns the home on January 1. Payments that were not postmarked or in the physical possession of the Treasurer by January 7 are late and the homeowner will be charged an additional $50. Payments received after that date that do not include the additional $50 (total payment = $300) will be returned to the homeowner for non-payment. On February 1, delinquent accounts will be turned over to the Association's attorney for collection. At that point, the amount owed by the delinquent homeowner will be $300 plus attorney fees (another $200+) and could include significant court should HFCA file a lawsuit. These procedures are in accord with the Hickory Farms Community Association Bylaws, which have no provision for waiver.

Do not mail or hand deliver your payment to the Treasurer's house. Make your check or money order payable to “HFCA”. Write the house number and street name of your property on your check or money order. Mail it to: Hickory Farms Community Association, P.O. Box 2239, Fairfax VA 22031. You may also pay by credit card or Paypal at https://hickoryfarms.org/annual-assessment. As of January 8, you will be charged the $250 Annual Assessment, the $50 late charge and $9.27 credit charge/Paypal processing fee if applicable.

Moved? New homeowner? Email owner's name, address, and telephone number to Kirk_Randall@Hotmail.com, who maintains Hickory Farms records.

For general questions please email Treasurer@Hickoryfarms.org

Are You Interested in Becoming a Board Member?

We are seeking homeowners to join the Board. Current opportunities include: Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Treasurer and At Large. If interested in learning more, please email President@hickoryfarms.org.

Join Our Listserv

There’s no better way to stay in touch than through our Hickory Farms email listserv. Visit hickoryfarms.org and click "Hickory Farms Listserv” on left and follow the instructions.

Student Yellow Pages

If you wish to offer services such as shoveling snow, raking leaves, lawn mowing, babysitting, general home maintenance, tutoring, etc., email kirk_randall@hotmail.com

Bridgette Buchanan (15) 703-307-7323 Babysitting and dog sitting
Britney Mulliner (17) 571-474-7277 Babysitting and dog sitting
Cody Dempster (16) 703-776-0101 Yard work, snow shoveling, housework
Dominic Cannata (17) 703-568-9896 Lawn mowing, shovel snow, cleaning, mulching
Dylan Mehrman (16) 478-230-5066 Lawn mowing
Erika Maaseide (16) 703-659-5321 Babysitting; experienced with Special Needs
Kent Codding (17) 703-317-7319 Shovel snow
Paul Cannata (18) 786-445-5318 Lawn mowing, shovel snow, cleaning, mulching
Xavier Gilmer (15) 703-862-2192 Shovel snow; lawn mowing

Interested in Attending a Board Meeting?

The Board of Directors meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 at 10110 Round Top Ct. Please email President@HickoryFarms.org if you plan to attend so he may fit you into the agenda.

New Braddock District Supervisor

Did you know that James R. Walkinshaw is the new Fairfax County Braddock District Supervisor? The Braddock District includes areas of Burke, Springfield, Annandale, and Fairfax, Virginia. The Braddock District Supervisor's Office can help you find information on local construction projects, roadwork, park issues, human services, and more. To learn more about the Braddock District Supervisor’s office visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/braddock/

Unpermitted Construction

Planning a home project this spring? Adding a porch or deck? Renovating your kitchen to make it bigger? Not every home project requires a Fairfax County building permit, but some do. Learn more about issues with unpermitted construction: https://t.co/4yFXzMlhdf

Fairfax Alerts

Fairfax Alerts is the official emergency communications system of Fairfax County. This system enables Fairfax County to provide you with critical information in a variety of situations, including severe weather, road closures, missing persons and neighborhood evacuations. By registering you will automatically be subscribed emergency alerts, which may be sent to all registered devices. Registered users may also sign up to receive additional notifications, such as transportation, tax reminders and more that will only be sent to text-based devices.

For more information, please visit the Fairfax Alerts website: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts

Fairfax Alerts is managed by the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management. For any questions, concerns or assistance, please email OEM-AlertSupport@fairfaxcounty.gov

Birds of Hickory Farms

By Bob Cosgriff (Cotton Farm Road)

The 2019 breeding season yielded fairly good results. We had three successful bluebird broods (two in one box, one in another) in the lower common grounds for a total of 12 bluebirds fledged. We had House Wren nests in four boxes, with a total of 19 fledglings. A fifth clutch of four wren eggs laid late in the season, was unsuccessful, which I attribute to the lateness of the date as well as the extremely hot weather in August. Once again, we failed to attract Tree Swallows to our boxes. The boxes have been cleared out and we are ready for the next breeding season in 2020. Thanks to Melissa Stark and the HFCA Board, we will be installing new boxes, since many of our older ones are in a deteriorating state. We will also relocate some boxes to better locations. During the fall, some neighbors noted a flock of Canada Geese in the common grounds and shooed them away, thinking that they might make this their home. This provides a good opportunity to provide some helpful information on such bird-human interactions. First, the Canada Goose population here in Fairfax County is, for the most part, resident year-round. It is important to remember that these birds are wild creatures, not domesticated fowl. Since geese live in or near the water and derived most of their food from aquatic vegetation, they are not going to set up housekeeping in our neighborhood. However, they do occasionally leave their ponds, rivers, and marshes to move about during the day to find areas in which to graze on grasses. Golf courses, school playing fields, cemeteries, and other open, grassy parkland are their typical haunts. Like virtually all birds in the U.S., Canada Geese are protected by both Federal and state laws that prohibit harassing, injuring, capturing, or possessing the birds or any bird parts (feathers,eggs, bones, etc.). Geese are regulated for hunting under these laws, but all other prohibitions still apply to any other human-bird interactions. That said, it is permissible to use means to deter geese that would not result in injury to them if (and only if) they become a nuisance. For Example, if geese habitually grazed on a school playground and deposited large amounts of droppings—a health issue—then they could be frightened off by noise makers or some other means as long as the method used would not result in any injury to any birds. There was a case in Fairfax a few years ago where an impatient driver tried to move geese out of a road in Reston by driving his car towards them. He frightened the flock which scattered. He hit a goose with his car, and the bird died. As a result, he was cited and heavily fined under the Migratory BirdTreaty Act. This report of geese in HF is, to my knowledge, the only time that they have landed here; at least, I have never observed it, although I have seen flocks on occasion in the back field of the cemetery and at Woodson High School. In the event anyone sees another flock in Hickory Farms, my advice would be to leave them alone and enjoy the chance to see these beautiful birds relatively close up. They will eat what they need and move on. Chances are they won’t be here very often.

Finally, the fall migration is over. There were four nice birds sighted in or over our yard: an adult Bald Eagle (two, actually) and Swainson’s Thrush (September). The latter was the first one recorded in our yard since 2002! These two birds raised our yard year total to 67 species, a new high. In late November, we had a Hermit Thrush and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Both are infrequent backyard visitors (we had both earlier in the year). Birds we associate with the winter are now evident: Slate-colored Junco, White-throated Sparrow, Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, and Tufted Titmouse. Although the latter three are year-round residents, they—along with Carolina Wrens—are among the most active birds at feeders in cold weather and always fun to watch. As the winter sets in, I encourage you to get out into our common grounds or nearby parks. You never know what you might see. For example, in late October, my wife and I
saw two Common Ravens in the Accotink Stream Valley Park just east of the City of Fairfax’s Thaiss Park on Pickett Road. Ravens are not typically found in suburban areas, although I have recorded three sightings since 2016 (two overhead, one at the landfill on West Ox Road). Perhaps these birds will favor Hickory Farms with a visit. Until next time, may the holiday period be bright and the New Year be filled with new birds for you!

Are You a Metro Rider?

Metro will close three Orange Line stations to rebuild deteriorating platforms this summer: Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church. Commuters who use those stations will need to find other options from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2020, WMATA said in a press release Wednesday. West Falls Church will be the last stop on the Orange Line in Virginia during the closure, but fewer trains will serve that station. The station's two platforms will both undergo repairs but at separate times.

Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch encourages total community involvement in discouraging preventable crime by organizing and providing technical assistance through awareness meetings that help neighbors get to know one another. Members learn to secure their property, look out for one another, and recognize and report suspicious activity. Neighborhood Watch enhances and fosters communications between the community and the police department through the Crime Prevention Office. The following is the volunteer schedule for the upcoming weeks. If you are interested in joining, please contact Debbi Buchanan.

Fri Jan 10 Ron Arnold Charles Walter
Sat Jan 11 Dave Dempster Dawn Dempster
Fri Jan 17 Bruce Bernhardt Nancy Bernhardt
Sat Jan 18 Jim Marshall Carol Marshall
Fri Jan 24 Kirk Randall  
Sat Jan 25 Jim Bever Barbara Bever
Fri Jan 31 Susan Mulliner Brenton Mulliner
Sat Feb 1 David Froberg Beverly Froberg
Fri Feb 7 Debbi Buchanan Michelle Bush
Sat Feb 8 Mark Jean-Pierre  
Fri Feb 14 John Kitzmiller  
Sat Feb 15 Rick Loranger Judy Loranger
Fri Feb 21 Harry Herchert Ginny Herchert
Sat Feb 22 Jason Zhao Laura Feng
Fri Feb 28 Kirk Randall  
Sat Feb 29 Lei Zhu Maggie Zhu

Holiday Decorating Contest

Way to decorate this year! There were so many beautifully decorated houses this year - seems like twice as many home as last year - such an awesome way for our neighborhood to finish out 2019! We had votes for lots of different houses, but this year’s winners were:

  • Most Classic - 10012 Cotton Farm - Mary Ritenour
  • Most Colorful - 10114 Spinning Wheel - Bob and Lee Sottile
  • Most Festive - 4353 Harvester Farm - The Meisenheimers

Congratulations to our winners! Can't wait to see all the great decorations again next year!

5 Tips for Weatherizing Your Home for Winter

Figuring out where to start and how to weatherize your home for winter can be daunting. We’ve done the research for you, so here are five easy home weatherization tips to help you start lowering your energy costs and guarantee your home will be cozier when the mercury drops.

  1. Clean your gutters. Yes, it’s a nasty job, but clogged gutters are a primary reason ice dams build up. Ice dams are those nasty ice floes that form on your roof if the gutter doesn’t properly drain. The warm air in your house leaks into the attic, which warms the roof and causes the ice and snow to melt. The ice lies beneath the snow to the gutter, where it refreezes instead of being drained. That causes the ice buildup, which can create water spots inside your home. Sealing home air leaks can help prevent this problem, as well.
  2. Install — and set! — programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats are one example of easy home weatherization tips that can make your heating (and cooling) system operate more efficiently. Why heat a home — or cool it for that matter — at the same temperature when no one is in it? Programmable thermostats are easy to install and ENERGY STAR estimates you can save as much as 10% on heating and cooling costs by properly using one. The critical piece is actually using the thermostat once you have it. Set it to the recommended temperatures and then just enjoy the savings.
  3. Change ceiling fans to rotate the correct way. Many only think of ceiling fans as a summer tool for cooling. But a ceiling fan can be an important tool in your home weatherization tips toolbox year-round. In the winter, it can also be used to rotate air flow so that heat rising into a high ceiling is blown back down to where it can do the most good — where the people are. That can only happen if it’s blowing the right way, however.
  4. Check, clean or replace central heating filters. Checking filters is on ENERGY STAR’s monthly home weatherization tips checklist. ENERGY STAR recommends checking filters monthly and changing them every three months, at least. A dirty air filter slows down air flow and makes a system work harder, thereby wasting energy.
  5. Flush your water heater. Sediment inevitably gathers inside your water heater (unless you have a tankless one) and impedes the water flow. Flushing is an easy DIY task to weatherize your home for winter. The Family Handyman is just one of many online videos that can walk you through this.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is a popular tradition celebrated in Canada and the United States on 2 February. It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks, and if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early. While the tradition remains popular in modern times, studies have found no consistent correlation between a groundhog seeing its shadow or not and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather.

Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Day will be celebrated/observed on Monday, January 20th. Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday. It is seen as a day to promote equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their background. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. Martin Luther King Day celebrates the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is most well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States.

Save a Child's Life - When a School Bus Stops, So Should You

It’s bad enough that many drivers don't stop at stop signs in our neighborhood, but now there are numerous drivers who don't even stop for school buses that are loading and unloading children. The most popular spot that drivers violate the law is at the intersection of Cotton Farm and Farm House when the school bus is stopped at the stop sign on Farm House. Apparently, many drivers on Cotton Farm assume they don't have to stop and wait for the bus before they move through the intersection.

It would appear that these drivers don’t know that the law requires EVERYONE at the intersection to wait for the school bus to turn off its red flashing lights before they enter the intersection. Please look at this page from the Virginia driver's manual. ALL vehicles must stop and wait for the bus to turn off its red lights. If you are anywhere near a stopped school bus and are in doubt as to whether you should stop, then do so out of an abundance of caution. The safety of our neighborhood children is in your hands.