Hickory Farms

January 2023 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Jennifer Maloney (Farm House Ln)

President's Column

By Jim Bever

Dear Hickory Farms Neighbors, as you receive this, we on your Board hope that the spirit and fun of the holiday season has been meaningful for you and shared with your family and friends. We hope that you enjoyed the Holiday Décor Contest around the neighborhood sponsored by our Social Committee. And that you were able to vote on the beautiful lighting displays at so many homes! Congratulations to our four winning homes. See more inside this Newsletter!

IT’S ANNUAL ASSESSMENT PAYMENT TIME! See the Treasurer’s notice inside this Newsletter!

During this month, the all-volunteer Members of the Board for 2023 who were elected at our Annual Meeting in mid-October will be choosing among themselves how they will govern for 2023 and which roles they will take on. Please stay tuned and give them your support!

WHEN IT SNOWS! Continue to please keep your sidewalk and the cement apron of your driveway shoveled and salted, for your own safety and for our adults and children walking there—and so they don’t have to walk in the street. If you are fit enough, please give a hand to your neighbors with shoveling or clearing off their cars—especially elderly and people living with disabilities. And if you have not yet done so, please clear any leaves from your curb now—to avoid dangerous ice dam build- up around the storm drain on your street.

When we get snow, remember to enjoy a visit to the Lower Commons path area to join in the neighborhood fun on the hill! The hill is open only to Homeowners, Residents, and their Guests.

ENFORCEMENT OF OUR RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS. The Board and the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) have made progress this month in enforcement, especially related to homes’ exterior appearance, to which all homeowners agreed when they bought their homes. In the past few weeks, we have held a formal Hearing by the ACC including Executive Members of the Board and an Executive Session of the Board--both about certain non-compliant homeowners. As a result, correspondence from our Attorney has gone to certain non-compliant homeowners that formally invoices them for significant financial charges and notifies them that if non-compliance continues, then significant liens on their property will be filed with the Fairfax Court and significant charges will be made to them as well for those legal fees. More such similar actions are expected in the coming weeks for certain other homeowners who have also still not complied with ACC’s letters directing them to conform with our community’s rules.

DUMPING OF YARD WASTE. Please do not dispose of your property's yard waste or other debris over your property line into any of the Commons' property, which belongs to us all. HFCA may need to charge you to clean up such dumping.

HICKORY FARMS NEEDS YOU! Our community succeeds because of the many homeowners and residents who take a bit of time to volunteer--so that everyone benefits from a caring, clean, safe, and fun neighborhood. Volunteering is a fun way to get to know people here in Hickory Farms and to make new friends! Please join up! Just let any Volunteer know who’s listed on the front of this Newsletter! In closing, I would like to thank outgoing Board Member-At-Large Carlie Mensen and outgoing Social Committee Meredith Perkins and Sarah Tropiano for their fantastic service to our Board and our community! I would also like to say how much of a pleasure it has been to serve for five years with our excellent Board Members going back to 2018, as your President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer. Thank you for the privilege and honor of doing so. I wish all the best for our new Board!

Looking to the future, we on the Board wish you all a healthy and Happy New Year for 2023!

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.

Hickory Farms Annual Assessment (Dues)

By Ken Sorg, HFCA Treasurer

This year’s assessment is $281.00 and is due no later than January 31, 2023. Pay electronically or pay by
mail. Please note, we are changing electric payment processing from PayPal to Cheddar Up, both will continue
to work for the coming weeks. Cheddar Up is a secure digital payment method that is integrated with
our new MoneyMinder web-based accounting software.

Payment details are as follows:

  • Ensure payment reaches HFCA Treasurer no later than January 31, 2023.
    • You may pay by echeck or credit card at: https://hickoryfarmshfca.cheddarup.com
      • No fee for Echecks. Echeck is an ACH debit from a payer’s bank account, which involves payers entering their bank account and routing numbers.
      • Credit card payments will include an additional processing fee.
    • 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.
  • Moved? New homeowner? Email owner's name, address, and telephone number to secretary@hickoryfarms.org, who maintains Hickory Farms records.
  • Help us stay in touch by joining the HFCA email list (listserv). This is a private list for HFCA only.
  • THANK YOU! Your assessment payments help keep our community beautiful and safe.
  • Questions? Contact Treasurer@Hickoryfarms.org

Hickory Farms Community Association Bylaws Article VII, Section 2(c) governs annual assessments. Assessment payments are the responsibility of the property owner. Payments that are not postmarked or in the physical possession of the Treasurer by February 7, 2023 are late and the homeowner will be charged an additional $50. Payments received after that date that do not include the additional $50 charge (total payment of $331.00) will be returned to the homeowner for non-payment. On March 1, 2023, 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 $331.00 plus all associated attorney fees and could include significant court costs if HFCA files a lawsuit. These procedures are in accord with the Hickory Farms Community Association Bylaws, which have no provision
for waiver.

The Social Committee Needs YOU!

Attention Hickory Farms Residents! Do you like building community? Do you like parties and holiday-themed activities? Do you have around 1-3 hours a month to give? Then the Social Committee needs you!

After many years at the reigns, Meredith and Sarah are ready to pass the torch on to other neighbors who will bring fresh perspectives and ideas to our community!

This role requires a small amount of time per month and is all about fostering FUN in the community.

If you are interested, email Meredith and Sarah at social@hickoryfarms.org to learn more about the role you can play in all the Hickory Farms Fun in 2023!

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.

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.

Problems with Foxes

We have all seen foxes roaming through the neighborhood, day and night. We are unaware of any real problems to date, however the possibility of problems increases as the foxes lose their natural fear of humans.

The major problems associated with foxes involve their ability to invade houses or trashcans. This species are very adaptable to urban areas, and are nocturnal, meaning they come out mostly at night; however just seeing them during the day is not a sign of rabies. They are commonly seen during the day in urban and suburban areas and are usually attracted there by a food source or an easily accessed area to make a den such as under porches/decks, crawl spaces or out-buildings.

The best way to prevent them from becoming a problem is to not give them a reason to come.

  • If you are feeding wildlife, stop. This will cause them to lose their natural fear of humans.
  • Keep trash inside until the morning of trash pick-up or place trash in an animal proof container, such as a metal trashcan with latches on the lids.
  • Do not leave pet food outside; keep pet feeding areas clean.
  • Remove bird feeders when problem species have been seen around them.
  • Close up all openings under and into your buildings. Animals look for places to den and raise their young – don’t give them that opportunity.
  • Clear fallen fruit from around trees

Note: The above was shared by HFCA resident John Kitzmiller. The information contained in the article is drawn from the Virginia Dept. of Wildlife Resources website (https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/nuisance/).

The Birds of Hickory Farms

By Bob Cosgriff

We often think of the winter here in Northern Virginia as being rather drab, with gray tree trunks, brown grass, dried flower stalks, withered leaves, and gray, overcast skies. However, there is color out there if you know where to look. Many birds, even though they are not in their breeding plumage, still have enough color to brighten up the landscape on the dark, cold days of winter. Here are common backyard birds with colors in their names:

  • Red-bellied Woodpecker (the red nape is more prominent than the belly!)
  • Northern Cardinal (named for the color which is similar to the robes of cardinals)
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Blue Jay
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Northern (“Yellow-shafted”) Flicker
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Goldfinch
  • Purple Finch
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Birds that are not named for their predominant plumage color can also bring a splash of brightness to your yard: Downy, Hairy, and Pileated woodpeckers all sport red head feathers. The common House Finch male has orangish-red plumage. The American Robin sports a colorful red breast. The warm colors of the Carolina Wren and Mourning Dove are worth looking for. Even birds with mostly gray or black plumage such as Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Slate-colored Junco, and Northern Mockingbird can contrast nicely with a snowy background. So why wait for spring to enjoy colorful bird plumage? Fill your feeders and see what color combinations you can observe by just looking out your window!

Since the last article, which reported a rare sighting of a Golden-crowned Kinglet, we have not added any new birds to our year yard list, which stands at 65 species. We are preparing to start the 2023 backyard count on 1 January. It is always exciting to see what the very first bird of the year is going to be. Since 2014, the winners have been (in order): Carolina Wren, Slate-colored Junco, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, White-throated Sparrow, and rounding out the list in 2022, a repeat for Carolina Wren. However, you will have to wait until the March newsletter to see how the count is going. We will be chasing birds in Texas and the Gulf Coast for most of January, so there will not be an article in the February newsletter. In the meantime, perhaps you can start your own year count or at least get outside in the common areas or nearby parks to see what birds you can see as 2022 gives way to 2023. Happy New Year!

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. Unless as required by bylaws, 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. See below for information on how to join the listserv. A limited number of hard copy newsletters will be available each month in the Little Free Libraries.