Hickory Farms

July 2022 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Jennifer Maloney (Farm House Ln)

President's Column

By Jim Bever

Happy 4th of July, everyone in Hickory Farms! I hope you catch a parade and fireworks in Fairfax City!

Our 2nd Annual Garden Tour a big success! Thank you to the owners of the thirteen homes who worked so hard to share their beautiful gardens with all of us on Saturday, June 24th! I was able to make it to twelve of them and along the way made new acquaintances and learned from them about all of the variety of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that we can grow here in our soil and our local conditions. Neighbors were so friendly and so helpful explaining how they made their gardens thrive! I look forward to us doing this again and again! A big thanks to Bob Cosgriff for organizing this wonderful event.

Our elected Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw visits Hickory Farms! Again, thanks to Bob Cosgriff’s initiative to invite Supervisor Walkinshaw to our Garden Tour, I was able to walk around Hickory Farms with him and visit over half of the neighbors showing their gardens. I also drove him around our neighborhood to visit our Common Areas, the Fairfax Pool, OLLI, and the intersection of Roberts Road & Still Meadow—the latter where I emphasized the public safety need to improve the blind dip/hill risks on Roberts Rd as one turns onto Still Meadow while driving south. He said his staff had briefed him on that challenge, as well as on our need for our streets to be re-asphalted and that he had written VDOT (VA Dept. of Transport) on both. Finally, I invited him to join one of our Board Meetings to discuss such community needs or concerns as well as other priorities he faces; he accepted.

Farewell to Sean & Claire Coleman! We hope they will enjoy North Carolina and stay in touch with us!

Congratulations to Bob Cosgriff upon becoming Chairman of the Braddock District Council! This is the Council of homeowners and community associations which addresses common issues and collaborates with the Braddock District Supervisor and his staff. With Bob at the helm, we will be well represented.

REMINDER: July & August we plan to do HFCA’s annual house-to-house exterior inspections! These are for compliance with Restrictive Covenants, primarily our homes’ appearance from the street/sidewalk. So now’s the time to tidy up a carport, treat or power wash mold and mildew on siding, trim bushes, weed, edge lawn along your sidewalk & curb, paint/replace faded shutters! Questions? Email me below.

LAST NOTICE! PLEASE HELP! WE NEED JUST FOUR VOLUNTEERS for just 20-25 minutes a month! Adults and suitable age responsible students with parental permission. To each deliver our Hickory Farms Newsletter to 20-25 homes. IF WE DON’T GET THESE VOLUNTEERS, THE BOARD’s CONSENSUS IS THAT WE SHOULD ONLY PROVIDE LIMITED PRINTED DISTRIBUTION OF FUTURE NEWSLETTERS TO OUR TWO LITTLE LIBRARIES & WE SHOULD SHIFT OTHER DISTRIBUTION TO DIGITAL FOR THOSE HOMEOWNERS WHO SIGN UP. (Except as may be required by our HOA rules.) See notice of this and information on how to join our listserv on page 6.

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable Independence Day! (president@hickoryfarms.org)

HFCA Board Meeting Notice

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, HFCA 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! 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 the 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.

Braddock District Council Update

By Bob Cosgriff

The Braddock District Council comprises representatives of homeowners’ associations, community associations, civic associations, and condo associations in the Braddock magisterial district. Each of the nine districts in Fairfax County has a similar group. These councils provide a forum for associations to share ideas, hear from government officials, and discuss concerns with the respective district supervisor. Council meetings also provide useful information that representatives can take back to their communities. The Braddock District Council also supports supervisor priorities such as the Summer Concert Series, Braddock Bark, Best of Braddock/Taste of Braddock, food drives, and other district-wide efforts.
Hickory Farms has been a member of the Braddock District Council for over two decades. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused a bit of disruption in the usual functioning of the council. Membership declined and meetings, even virtual ones, were not as frequent or as well-attended as in the past. Supervisor Walkinshaw is desirous of re-invigorating the council and asked for district residents (preferably with prior experience as officers of the BDC) to help with this effort. The officers for the next year were elected at the June virtual meeting. They are:

  • Chair: Bob Cosgriff (Hickory Farms)
  • Vice-Chair: Sarah Lennon (Kings Park West)
  • Treasurer: Kevin Morse (Woodwalk, Burke Centre)

The secretary position was not filled and candidates are still being sought. If you are interested in helping rebuild the council as secretary, please let me know.

The next meeting will be on 21 September, in-person at Braddock Hall (the supervisor’s office adjacent to the King’s Park Library, 9000 Burke Lake Road). This will be Supervisor Walkinshaw’s annual Town Hall Meeting. The December meeting (21 December) will also be at Braddock Hall and will be the Best of Braddock/Taste of Braddock meeting. Details to follow.

2nd Annual Hickory Farms Garden Tour!

By Bob Cosgriff

The 2nd Annual HFCA Garden Tour was held on Saturday, 25 June. This year’s version featured 13 gardens, eight of which were not on the inaugural tour in 2021.

The weather cooperated, with blue skies, warm temperatures, low humidity, and gentle breezes from the south. A total of 36 people (including five children) came out to walk around the neighborhood visiting the host gardens. Feedback from the hosts and their visitors indicate that the tour was enjoyable for all parties. People got to meet neighbors they didn’t know and everyone who took the tour reported getting good ideas for possible use in their own yards.

Of note, Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw accepted our invitation to join in this community activity and walked around the neighborhood, escorted by HFCA President, Jim Bever. Not only did Supervisor Walkinshaw enjoy seeing various host gardens and talking with constituents, he was impressed with the overall appearance of the neighborhood and especially enjoyed visiting the award-winning upper and lower commons first-hand to see the extensive tree plantings, the wildflower meadows, and the boxwood grove.

-Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw

As Garden Tour coordinator, I’d like to thank, first and foremost, all the host gardeners who devoted many, many hours of work to prepare their gardens for the tour and who were willing to spend a lovely early summer Saturday afternoon in order to share their yards with their neighbors. Thanks also go to Sarah Tropiano and Meredith Perkins, co-chairs of the Social Committee, who helped with the advertising for the tour via the Listserv as well as creating and distributing flyers throughout the neighborhood. Finally, many thanks to all the Hickory Farm residents who came out to look at the gardens in support of this community event. The goals of the annual garden tour are twofold: to build community spirit with an enjoyable, outdoor event, and to encourage residents to pick up inspiration and helpful hints for beautifying their own yards. These goals were met. Perhaps some of this year’s participants will start to create beautiful gardens of their own to show in future tours!

Call for Historical Neighborhood Documents and Photos

Our webmaster is working on a historical archive of our neighborhood and is asking if anyone has images or documents from the last 40+ years. Specifically, we are looking for any photos taken in or around the neighborhood, or any of the original flyers advertising the different home models and the development. If you have anything you would like to share, please contact: webmaster@hickoryfarms.org.

Paper Newsletter Delivery Notice

Hickory Farms paper newsletters will no longer be delivered to households after this issue, except as may be required by HFCA rules. 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. In the future, a limited number of hard copy newsletters will be available each month in the Little Free Libraries.

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

Lauren Turner (18) Angmturn@hotmail.com Pet Sitting (available until August)
Shannon Turner (17) Angmturn@hotmail.com Pet Sitting
Nathan Turner (12) Angmturn@hotmail.com Dog walking, yard work and watering, leaf removal
Kiera Stark (13) commonareas@hickoryfarms.org Pet sitting
Greysen Berg (15) 210-428-5535 Yard work, leaf raking

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.

The Birds of Hickory Farms

By Bob Cosgriff

Birds are now busy with raising young. Most species have already produced one brood and many are on to a second brood. You might see some juvenile birds around, many still being fed by their parents away from the nest. Our bluebird trail has produced mixed results so far. We have had one successful fledging of five bluebirds in the upper commons, but five other fledglings in a box in the lower commons were killed, most likely by sparrows. As of 25 June, we have two active bluebird nests in the upper commons, one with four eggs and one with one egg. We also have two active House Wren nests, one in the lower commons with one egg and one in the upper commons with five eggs. This nest is in a box where an earlier brood was predated just before fledging.

We are investigating the suitability of our common areas for Purple Martin colonies. These beautiful and beneficial insect-eating birds nest in colonies in bird “apartments.” A popular design is an array of gourd-shaped nesting boxes. Native Americans used actual dried gourds to attract martins to their fields to eat insects that could damage crops. Another design is more of a house-like structure with several openings. Both types of martin houses are designed to prevent European Starlings from nesting in them. House Sparrows are still a problem, however. We will have more information in the next newsletter after we talk to the director of the Northern Virginia Purple Martin Initiative which monitors over two dozen martin colonies throughout the county.

If you enjoy hummingbirds, now is a good time to put out your feeders. All you need is to boil water and add sugar: 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of water. Do not add food coloring or buy colored hummingbird ‘nectar.’ You will need to clean and refill your feeder(s) about every five days to ensure that bacteria do not grow in the nectar or on the feeding ports. Be sure to buy a model with an ant trap above the feeder itself. Fill the trap with water to prevent ants from reaching the feeding ports and getting into the feeder itself, where they can drown and contaminate the nectar. It is a good idea to position your feeder near flowers favored by hummingbirds, such as Blue-black Salvia, Red Salvia, Monarda (Bee Balm), Lobelia (Cardinal Flower), Trumpet Vine, and other species that you can check out online. Hummingbirds are attracted to bright colored flowers with deep tube-like flowers, so even the common petunia or fuchsia can be used. Both of these often come in hanging pots. We are seeing hummers at our feeders and Bee Balm.

One bird that has made its presence known recently is the Wood Thrush. Formerly very common here and elsewhere, this species has suffered a severe decline over the last several years; some studies estimate the population has shrunk by nearly 50% or possibly more since 1966. The Wood Thrush is a bird of the forest and is often heard singing its haunting, flute-like song from the deep shadows of the woods. We are hearing it in the area south of Cotton Farm Road by the creek and even up closer to our house. It is enjoyable to listen to it singing off and on throughout the day, since there have been a few years recently when we did not hear it at all in the summer. The singing also indicates that the thrushes are probably nesting somewhere nearby. I am going to select Wood Thrush as Bird of the Month. In lieu of a separate article, here is a link with all the important facts about the Wood Thrush: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wood_Thrush/id

The Thrush family includes the more common American Robin and Eastern Blue-bird. Other thrushes that are possible to see here are the Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, and less commonly, Veery. All have beautiful songs but are not as often heard as the Wood Thrush.