Hickory Farms

July 2019 Hickory Farms Newsletter

Braddock District Council, Best of Braddock Awarded to the Stark Family - Editor, Chuck Stewart (Still Meadow Rd)

Hickory Farms Board Calendar

  • Aug 13, 2019 - Board of Directors Meeting
  • Oct. 29 - Annual Meeting (Green Acres, Cafeteria)

Saturday Social Calendar 2019

Come Join Us in the Upper Commons!

  • Aug. 03 - Cornhole Tournament, Adults Only
  • Aug 06 - National Night Out
  • Sept. 21 - Fall Fest, All Ages
  • Oct. 05 - HFCA Yard Sale
  • Oct. 19 - Monster Mash Party, All Ages
  • Dec. 15 - 18th, Holiday Decorating Contest, Voting & Awards, All Ages

Congratulations Stark Family

Cotton Farm residents Melissa and Jarrett Stark and their three kids were recently honored by our Braddock Supervisor John Cook for their efforts to beautify and maintain the 20 acres of our beloved Hickory Farms Common Areas. Common Areas Coordinator Melissa was also honored at last year's Annual Meeting to acknowledge her significant contributions to the community. The competition was fierce for this year's honors, but Melissa and Jarrett blew away the competition in the category "Neighborhood Enhancement or Beautification – Community Association."

Several residents were present to cheer on the honorees, including President Chuck Stewart, Vice President Bruce Bernhardt and spouse Nancy, former President Bob Cosgriff and spouse Judy, Claire Coleman, ACC Chair Pam Barrett, and Board Member-at-Large Kirk Randall.

Annual Nominating Committee

The annual nomination process for HFCA Board Members and Officers is now underway. HFCA-ACC Chairperson and Board member, Pam Barrett, is the 2020 Nominations Committee Chairperson. If you would like to serve with Pam please contact her at 703-978-2132 or pbarrett@ccweek.com.

If you would like to nominate yourself or a neighbor for a Board position, please contact Pam so that she can include the candidate’s name on the nominations slate to be voted on at our 29th Annual Meeting in October. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the Annual Meeting. To see who is currently on the Board of Directors, please click here. Note that some of these volunteers may not be running for reelection because of other pressing responsibilities.

Dozens of volunteers have stepped forward over the past 40 years to make Hickory Farms the wonderful place it is today to live, perhaps raise a family, and enjoy surrounding attractions. Please consider volunteering this year as a member of the Board of Directors in order to keep our record of continuous community service going into decade number five!

The Birds of Hickory Farms

In the last newsletter, I stated the figure of 63 species seen in our yard during the winter and early spring through 31 May, which equaled our all-time high set in 2018. As frequently happens, another new bird shows up right after I submit my article. And so it was in May. An overflying Great Blue Heron gave us 64 species and a new one-year yard record.

As for the bluebird trail, as previously reported, one box in the lower common grounds produced three fledglings around 1 May and a second nesting occurred, producing three more fledglings around 22 June. To our surprise, at the end of June, a third nesting attempt was made in that box, with a large clutch of six eggs (4-5 eggs is average), all of which hatched. Three nestings in one year is not common, although we have seen it here before on a couple of occasions. Also, late nestings like this typically have fewer eggs than earlier attempts, so this six-egg clutch late in the breeding season is also unusual. However, when we checked the box on 7/21, we found only four fledglings. This suggests that two chicks died from some cause (possibly heat or starvation due to competition for food) and their bodies were removed from the box. Meanwhile, up the hill in the lower common grounds, another six-egg clutch of bluebird eggs was found in a different box at the same time (30 June). All these eggs hatched and as of 7/21, there were six viable chicks. If these two broods of ba-by bluebirds get through the late July heat, they should fledge around 27-29 July. Not to be outdone, there are six baby House Wrens in yet another box in the lower common grounds and four wren eggs in the box by the creek. If these birds fledge successfully, that will give us a very successful year, with a total of 16 bluebirds and 16 wrens (there was an earlier brood of six wrens in the upper common grounds).

Speaking of the heat, extreme temperatures such as we have seen in July can be as hard on birds, especially nestlings, as on us humans. Adult birds can deal with the heat in a variety of ways: one is to open their beaks so allow internal body heat to escape. Look for this behavior on the next very hot day. Another way is to take a bath. A third way is to perch quietly in the shade and stay inactive. Our creek and wooded areas provide natural cooling and resting spots for birds on hot days. A backyard birdbath is a valuable asset for birds during the “dog days” of summer. Our birdbath is staying very busy! Finally, parent birds that are brooding chicks in a box will stay off the nest during the heat of the day to that the chicks don’t get too hot. Our bluebird boxes have ventilation slits in them which helps dissipate the heat.

Believe it or not, the fall migration actually starts in late July and builds into August and September, ending for some species in October or November. This annual southward movement is not as obvious as the colorful spring migration. Yet birds do pass through, which gives us a chance to add another species or two to our yard list and the neighborhood list. I recently reviewed the all-time numbers and found that we have counted 121 species in Hickory Farms as a whole in the 40 years we’ve lived here, with 96 species being seen in our yard. Some of our yard birds are the only Hickory Farms records of those species, while some species seen in our common areas have not been seen in our yard. These are very respectable figures considering we are right in the middle of a county with over 1.1 million residents!

Elsewhere in this newsletter, you read of the Neighborhood Beautification Award presented to Melissa and Jarrett Stark. Their efforts have done more than just create a more beautiful landscape for all of us to enjoy. They have also made the common grounds more bird-friendly. One species that will profit is Rubythroated Hummingbird, since many of the flowers planted are their favorites. Insects (especially pollinators) will be at-tracted to the new flower beds which will provide additional food for birds. The removal of the large stand of invasive bamboo has opened up the upper common grounds, which makes it more inviting for birds. Accord-ingly, next year we plan to move some of our bluebird boxes to better locations to take advantage of the new look, which is much more bird-friendly than the bamboo thicket and the ‘islands’ choked with invasive trees and vines. Hopefully, the upper common grounds will then be as productive in terms attracting bluebirds and other beneficial species as the lower common grounds.

That’s it for now. Until next time, enjoy the rest of the summer and keep cool as you enjoy the common grounds and the birds of Hickory Farms.

Bob Cosgriff
Cotton Farm Road

Hickory Farms Residents

Please let the Social Committee know about any newly arrived home-owners or any new renters, so that the Social Committee can be sure to welcome all newcomers! Please email any newcomers' address to social@hickoryfarms.org.

Hello Residents of Hickory Farms!

It's time for Hickory Farms' Annual Dog Days of Summer Cornhole Tournament on Satur-day, August 3rd from 6-8pm in the Upper Commons. No previous experience is necessary- cornhole is an easy pick-up game - if you can toss a beanbag, you can play cornhole!

Please bring your favorite beverage - we will have coolers available to keep things cold. If you have cornhole boards, please sign-up to bring them too!

Note: This is an adults-only event, please leave the kiddos at home 😊 We have more kiddo-friendly events coming up in September and October!

RSVP here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054CA4A922ABF94-summer1

HF Social Committee

Deed & Declaration Amendment – Status Report

As of Thursday, July 18, 2019, the effort to amend our Deed & Declaration Document has achieved:
101 (51%) signed Amendment Forms – a simple majority!
19 (10%) negative responses to the amendments.
78 (39%) property owners who have yet to response YES or NO.
150 (75%) are required to pass the amendments. 50 (25%) are required to reject the amendments.

Next Steps:

Individual Board Members have been assigned to each of the remaining 78 property owners to reach out and obtain their decision – YES or NO. We need to hear from all 198 property owners. If you have any questions regarding the amendments or need an Amendment Form, please call or text Bruce Bernhardt at 703-989-0751.

Corn Hole Tournament, 8/3/2019, 6 to 8 pm, Upper Common Area just off Farm House Lane: There will be a D&D table set up for anyone wanting to drop by and sign their forms or register a NO decision.

National Night Out, 8/6/2019, D&D volunteers will be available from 6 pm to 9 pm to stop by any home in Hickory Farms and pick up signed Amendment Forms or accept No decisions. Just call 703-989-0751 and we will come to you!

Now that a simple majority (51%) have approved the amendments, we are hoping the remaining Hickory Farms property owners will make their decisions. The Annual Meeting is coming up fast!

Several homeowners expressed concern that the amendments will be applied in a too aggressive manner. The track record of the HFCA Board over the past 44 years stands for itself. Fellow homeowners have volunteered and served as Board and Architecture Control Committee (ACC) members for all 44 years. At no time over those years have the HFCA Board or ACC over applied restrictive covenants in a punitive manner. In many cases, Board and ACC Member volunteers have donated their own time and resources to assist fellow neighbors with fixing and resolving non-compliant issues based on the needs and schedule of the neighbor with the issue. The position of the Board has been, is, and will remain, to proactively offer assistance resolving issues with fellow neighbors and avoid wasting critical Association budget dollars and individual home owner dollars on frivolous legal fees.

As your representatives, the HFCA Board is asking for your support of the Deed & Declaration Document Amend-ments. Please sign the form and mail it to: HFCA, P.O Box 2239, Fairfax, VA 22031. Or call 703-989-0751 and we will come and pick it up! If you have decided to reject the amendment changes, please send your NO decision to: hfca@hickoryfarms.org or mail it to the address above.

If you need more information on the reasons for the changes, please refer to the many HFCA newsletters that have been published over the past year and a half or call 703-989-0751.

Keeping Hickory Farms the fantastic place to live that it is will not happen by accident. Please assist your Board and neighbors by signing and submitting the Amendment Form attached in this Newsletter.

Bruce Bernhardt
Neighbor, VP and Deed & Declaration Amendment Lead

North Path Drainage Repairs Tested! Northern HFCA Line Marked!

The new drainage pipe under the North Path worked as designed. Repairing a drainage issue for Hickory Farms resi-dents that live near it. Posts with “HFCA” engraved in them were installed close to the HFCA property line. Shown is HFCA Vice President Bruce Bernhardt, engraving posts. The posts will aid landscapers to know where to work. Fund-ing for this project came out of the HFCA Reserve Fund, which is designated for funding capital improvements.

Architectural Control Committee Note

The ACC has received some questions about Rules
and Regulations and enforcement process. HFCA President Bruce Barnhardt touched on the Association’s philosophy and the process outlined in the Bylaws regarding enforcement. We can offer further reassurances here. When we wrote the first version of HFCA Rules and Regulations 25 years ago, we worked with our attorney and three neighboring communities to develop a set of rules based on our governing documents that would serve to enforce restrictive covenants to preserve quality of community life and protect homeowner investments. We chose to do this with the least restrictive rules necessary to secure compliance to the covenants and deliver maximum protection of property values. Although there have been minor changes to the Rules and Regulations, we still have the least restrictions of any of our nearby peer HOAs. Our enforcement process for violations allows for ample negotiation and assistance when bringing a property into compliance.

The ACC has currently completed 89 home inspections in the community and the majority of the violations
are garbage receptacles sitting in the front of the property instead of in the rear or garage and mold on siding. Because of the wet weather and reported contractor delays, the Committee decided to wait before sending letters for mold violations. If you are not storing your garbage cans out of sight between pick-ups, we will contact you.

Important correction from an earlier post from Pam Barrett on DYI mold remover. One of the products discussed "the preferred Spray and Forget" was bought by a competitor, Mold Armor House Wash, just over a year ago. It lists a new ingredient and more precautions. Based on the new labeling, wearing sandals while applying is out and protective shoes
are in!

Neighborhood Watch Schedule

Day Date Person 1 Person 2
Fri July 19 Bruce Bernhardt Nancy Bernhardt
Sat July 20 John Kitzmiller  
Fri July 26 Ron Arnold Charles Walters
Sat July 27 Dave Dempster Dawn Dempster
Fri Aug 2 Susan Mulliner Brenton Mulliner
Sat Aug 3 David Froberg Beverly Froberg
Fri Aug 9 Debbi Buchanan Michelle Bush
Sat Aug 10 Mark Jean-Pierre  
Fri Aug 16 John Coyne Linda Coyne
Sat Aug 17 Rick Loranger Judy Loranger
Fri Aug 23 Harry Herchert Ginnny Herchert
Sat Aug 24 Jason Zhao Laura Feng
Fri Aug 30 Kirk Randall Albert Chong
Sat Aug 31 Lei Zhu Maggie Zhu
Fri Sep 6 Brian Roethlisberger Rob Mikula
Sat Sep 7 Wendy Chen Tony Dong
Fri Sep 13 David Tropiano Sarah Tropiano
Sat Sep 14 Pam Barrett Tom Barrett
Fri Sep 20 John Coyne Linda Coyne
Sat Sep 21 Jim Marshall Carol Marshall
Fri Sep 27 Lt Trieu Will Lunsford
Sat Sep 28 Pete Scala Rose Scala

We are working to enlist 50 residents/teams on the roster! Contact Debbi Buchanan at 703.307.7323 or simplydebbi1@gmail.com for information or to be added to the roster.

Fuzzy Blankets and Fuzzy Streets

Everyone likes fuzzy blankets, but not fuzzy streets. Fuzzy streets are streets, curbs or sidewalks with weeds growing in the cracks. They create an abandoned look or even apocalyptic esthetic that does not enhance curb appeal. If you use a lawn service, consider the question; if the lawn service does not remove the lawn falling down the curb into the street or the even the grass growing between the asphalt and the concrete, am I receiving full value for my money? Is this image of the property that I fell in love with enough to buy?

Grass and weeds growing in the cracks in the asphalt exert a tremendous pressure on the asphalt or concrete. This in turn can break the asphalt or concrete. They can reclaim unused roadways and contribute to urban blight. Here are some photos from our HF community.

Melissa Stark’s Common Areas Status Report (Part 1)

Please thank our valuable volunteers!

These individuals (listed alphabetically by last name) have participated in one or more of the 2019 volunteer activities listed described below.

Sondra Arnold, Bruce and Nancy Bernhardt, The Bush Family, Bob and Judy Cosgriff, Bryan Crabtree, Sean & Claire Coleman, Rich Dudley, Dante Gilmer, The Jean-Pierre Family, Meredith Perkins, Ee Lin Roethlisberger, Lee & Bob Sottile, Jennifer Spencer, The Stark Family & Chuck Stewart, LT Trieu, Janis Wise.

Spring 2019 started off with many volunteer activities to help clean up our Common Areas and entrances, as well as, remove invasive vines/plants. We also kicked off our initiative to repopulate our Commons Areas with native plants and trees. Below will go into more detail about these volunteer activities and those that have helped contribute to make our neighborhood ever more beautiful.

Winter & Early Spring Tree Branch and Limb Removal

Trees in our Lower and Upper Common Areas drop a lot of branches, and even sometimes limbs, during the winter months. Before each forecasted snowstorm, the Lower Common Area snow hill area receives a volun-teer walk through and a stick/limb pick up. This is so that resident sledders do not encounter any hazards that could potentially hurt them. Also, there is a volunteer stick clean up in early March, prior to the kick off of the mowing season. This March, 18 fully wheel barrels full of sticks and limbs were removed from the Upper and Lower Common Areas and recycled with our trash providers.

Northern Path Japanese Honeysuckle Vine Removal

Those that walk or whose homes back up to our Northern Path, know that it is a treasure. It provides a small woodland experience and much needed shaded tree canopy during the summer months, when the sun is brutally hot. However, the Northern Path does have a fairly large amount of Japanese Honeysuckle that is strangling young seedlings and climbing up sticker bushes to reach lower limbs of medium to large trees. These vines strangle the trunks and branches of both young and old trees to reach the top part of the canopy of the tree. Once the Japanese honeysuckle reaches the canopy, it cuts off sunlight to the tree, thus removing the photosynthesis that the tree needs to live.

This past winter, Japanese honeysuckle was easy to spot, since it is the only thing green in the winter on nonconifer trees. In early 2019, we were able to remove a third of the Japanese honeysuckle in this area. This winter, we will tackle the remaining 2/3's, as well as, retrace the 1/3 that was already done for seeds that sprouted into new vines. This will be a continued initiative every winter to make sure that our path remains beautiful.

Entrance Clean Up & Planting

Each spring, summer and fall our entrances receive weeding, new annual flowers and a layer of mulch by HF volunteers. This year we took our beautification a step further and removed the garbage along Roberts Rd down towards Glenmere's neighborhood, as well as, removed a large amount of leaf/soil debris from the curb on the turn lane and also freed up a drain that was clogged with mud, leaves and sticks.

Little Free Libraries Rebuilt

Unfortunately our Little Free Libraries did not fare well with the wet year we had last year. The wood starting peeling and growing black mold, which gave it a not so welcoming appearance.

Jarrett Stark took the initiative to rebuild both libraries, reusing the door and hardware from the previous one. They are now painted a nice green that reflects the greenness of our Common Areas, with a tan door, cedar shingled roof and cedar flooring in the interior.

Please continue to fill these libraries with books for all ages (children to adult), so that others can enjoy them.

Weeding (Site Management) & Bamboo Update

There are many weeds growing in our Commons Area islands, especially the islands that we have cleared of invasive bamboo and vines. This will be an ongoing continuous effort to remove your typical broadleaf weeds, an abundance of blackberry bushes, as well as invasive vines and plants (Japanese stiltgrass, Japa-nese honeysuckle, porcelain berry, bamboo and mile a minute). We are using mostly hand picking methods, since most of them are in the young stage. There are times though, when we will need to apply a target spraying application to control the bamboo or tough weeds. Additional mulch will be brought in as well to cov-er the bare spots that the heavy rains have washed mulch away.

Since seeds stay active in the soil for 4-5 years, sometimes longer, we will be trying to populate the area as quickly as budget allows with trees and native plants, in addition to adding mulch. It will take time, but we are hoping within 5 years, the weed population should be negligible.

The good news is the .75 acres of non- native bamboo in the Upper Common Area is nearly eradicat-ed. Since August 2017, there have only been 5 target sprayed applications (which targets the leaves of the plant/vine only). Those 5 target sprayed applications have been successful in removing the thick .75 acres of bamboo and we currently have only 5 small rhizomes still active (that we know of).

It is great that a handful of Hickory Farms volunteers help with weeding! We are looking for more people to hand pick weeds, especially in our meadow section, where we do not want to target spray with herbi-cide. Just 15 minutes of your time picking weeds makes a huge impact and prevents us from resorting to tar-get herbicide spraying on the non-meadow section of the island. Just email commonareas@hickoryfarms.org to help.

Going Native!

Those that attended the 2018 Annual Meeting learned of our initiative to go native in our tree and plant selec-tions in repopulating the Common Areas. The benefits of Hickory Farms going native are:

  1. Quality Food for Our Wildlife & Pollinators
    Native plants attract native bugs, which is the best protein source for our wildlife. In addition, our wildlife prefers the berries, seeds, bark and leaf foliage of native plants.
  2. Less Water Consumption
    Native plants and trees adapt to local environmental conditions, which means they require far less water than their non-native counterparts. Which is a bonus! Since we have zero irriga-tion, water spigots, etc. in our Commons Areas.
    We do though have lovely neighbors who have offered up water from their spigots to help provide water to the larger trees that we planted this spring. Thank you!
  3. Erosion Control & Reduces Runoff
  4. Maintain or Improve Soil Fertility
  5. Reduce the Spread of Non-Native Species

Melissa Stark
Common Areas Coordinator

National Night Out

National Night Out is a unique community event, celebrated in the United States and Canada, that focuses on prevention of crime and drug activity, and is held the first Tuesday of August every year. It is designed to heighten com-munity awareness of crime and drug prevention, generate support for and participation in local anticrime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community partnerships, send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back, and to promote emergency preparedness.

What happens that night? Between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. neighbors, friends and families lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside together.

Best of Braddock Award Ceremony

Judy and Bob Cosgriff, Melissa Stark and Nancy Bernhardt after Best of Braddock Award Ceremony