Hickory Farms

June 2018 Hickory Farms Newsletter

Fiesta Fun! - Editor, Chuck Stewart (Still Meadow Rd)

Hickory Farms Calendar for 2018

All activities are held in the upper Commons Field on these dates:

  • June 23 - School’s Out! Summer Kickoff
  • July 14 - Dog Days of Summer Cornhole Tourney (Adults Only)
  • Sept 8 - Volunteer Appreciation Celebration
  • Oct 11 - HFCA Annual Meeting at Green Acres
  • Oct 20 - Monster Mash Bash

Yes! You are needed!

Thank you to the Social Committee for putting together a great Fiesta! The kids a great time on the moon bounce and the food was excellent! Long time neighbors met new neighbors. Page 3 has information on our next gathering on Saturday, June 23.

The Fiesta was an example of how our volunteers on the Social Committee do an outstanding job. We also have great volunteers with Neighborhood Watch. The Architectural Control Committee volunteers to keep our property resale value high. Volunteers help manage our Common Areas and keep our entrances looking great.

This volunteer spirit keeps HFCA costs at a minimal while providing maximum value to all residents. It allows resi-dents to be creative, to network and to develop new skills. If vendors provided all our services, the annual dues would be much higher. Just the cost to replace the ACC inspection with a vendor would be an estimated $10.00 per residence per year. A vendor charge to pickup branches in the common areas is estimated at $600 per day.

We encourage everyone to volunteer because this everyone’s community and volunteers help make Hickory Farms great! In addition, volunteering literally keeps money in you and your neighbors’ pocket.

Positions that need you:

  • Assistant Treasurer - contact any Board Member
  • Grounds - Melissa
  • Neighborhood Watch - Debbi
  • Newsletter Editor - contact any Board Member

If you volunteered in the past, I encourage you to volunteer again. There is a place for you.

Thanks in Advance,
Charles (Chuck) Stewart
HFCA President

Summer Bike Parade

When: June 23rd

Time: 3:30 (meet at the corner of Still Meadow and Cotton Farm-Bike parade will go around to Farm House Lane in front of Commons area)

Details: Once we finish the parade we will have some games and ice cream to cool off! For those who can’t have dairy we will have popsicles.

RSVP: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F044EABAB2CA0FA7-summer

Architectural Control Committee Activity

April 2018 - Approvals

  • 4296 County Squire Ln - Extend Chimney - Resubmission
  • 4315 Still Meadow Rd - Replace Deck & Patio and Install Hot Tub
  • 4331 Still Meadow Rd - Replace roof
  • 10005 Tumbleweed Ct - Replace Roof & Soffits

May 2018 - Approvals

  • 4344 Farm House Ln - Install metal rails on carport and rear steps
  • 4355 Farm House Ln - Install Retaining Wall
  • 4355 Farm House Ln - Replace Roof
  • 10113 Round Top Ct - Replace Roof, Soffits, Downspouts & Clad Trim
  • 4315 Still Meadow Rd - Install screen porch over new patio
  • 4333 Still Meadow Rd - Construct replacement storage shed
  • 10023 Wheatfield Ct - Replace Roof

May 2018 - Denials

  • 10000 Cotton Farm Rd - Install Propane Tank

Architectural Control Committee & Board Sets Policy for Exterior Propane Tanks

- By the Hickory Farms Architectural Control Committee

For more than four decades, the Hickory Farms Architectural Control Committee (ACC) has reviewed homeowner proposals to change the exterior appearance of their properties, including new roofs, windows, and siding, sheds, fences, retaining walls, additions, etc.

Every once in a while, the ACC gets a case of first impression, as it did in years past with proposals for double hung windows without grids, metal roofs, plastic fences, various paint colors for fences, etc. When that happens, the ACC, in consultation with the Board of Directors, reviews the application to determine whether it complies with 1) the Hickory Farms Deed of Dedication and Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (“The Declaration,” which is our “constitution”) and 2) the Hickory Farms Rules and Regulations.

The standard of review for the application under Article VII of the Declaration is: “No structure or alterations to any structure shall be permitted on any lot in this subdivision until the plans and specifications and a plan showing the location of the structure has been approved by the Architectural Control Committee as to quality of workmanship and materials, harmony of external design with existing structures, and as to location with respect to topography and finish grade elevation.”

In a recent application, a homeowner proposed to site a 120-gallon propane tank (4½ feet tall and 2½ feet wide) at the front corner of the house to provide gas for the nearby fireplace. This tank would be visible from the street and, accordingly, was found by the ACC and Board of Directors not to be in keeping with the harmony of external design throughout our community. The application was rejected and the ACC asked the homeowner to resubmit a proposal wherein the tank would not be visible from the street (i.e., located behind the house, buried, or hidden from view behind a permanent privacy fence). This is the standard of review that the ACC will use to evaluate future applications of this kind. The ACC and Board also believes that other similar tanks may have been installed elsewhere in the community without securing prior ACC approval (Please note that the siting of a propane tank also requires a Fairfax County building permit). Such prior installations are not grandfathered and the owner of a previously-installed tank should submit an after-the-fact application to the ACC. Failure to do so could lead to action by the Board of Directors and could cause delays or cancellation of sales contracts when the property is next put up for sale.

The Board of Directors will revise the Hickory Farms Rules and Regulations to codify this standard for propane tanks. Until that time, this ACC ruling stands for the proposition that homeowners must obtain prior ACC approval before installing an exterior tank on their property.

All homeowners should be aware of the need to secure prior ACC approval before they change the exterior appearance of their homes. For more information, please see https://hickoryfarms.org/archive/accApprovalProcess.php and https://hickoryfarms.org/archive/Application%20for%20Architectural%20Review.htm

Hickory Farms is Bringing its By-Laws Up-to-Date

There are four documents that regulate how the Hickory Farms Community Association works: 1) Articles of Incorporation, 2) Declaration (our “constitution”), 3) Rulesand Regulations, and 4) By-Laws. The By-Laws haven’t been substantially reviewed since they were written in 1983. The Board of Directors has asked board member Kirk Randall (Country Squire) to form a team to review them and submit proposed changes to the homeowners at the October 11 Annual Meeting (mark your calendars!). The By-Laws may be amended by a majority vote of a quorum of members present in person or by proxy at a regular or special meeting of the membership. You can view the By-Laws at https://hickoryfarms.org/archive/By-Laws.htm If you would like to help out, please email Kirk at: Kirk_Randall@Hotmail.com

Little Free Libraries Now installed in Hickory Farms at Rabbit Run and the Upper Commons Area

Well done and thank you, Patrick! Patrick Doyal installed and stocked two Little Free Libraries as a part of his Eagle Scout service project. Little Free Library is a "take a book, return a book" free book exchange.

These libraries will allow Hickory Farms residents the opportunity to share their favorite books with our community and receive tax deductible credit for their book donations. The first box is located off Farm House Lane by the sidewalk of the Upper Commons. The second box is located near the Cotton Farm Road and Farm House Lane intersection by the sidewalk. Want to learn more about Little Free Library? Please visit: littlefreelibrary.org/faqs/.

Hickory Farms Residents are activity Little Libraries! The books are always changing, so checkout one of the Little Free Libraries!

Tree Health Assessment - Your Property and Your Neighboring Property

It is that time of year again! Where the trees have gotten their leaves and you start noticing what trees and shrubs on your property and neighboring properties aren't looking so good, or didn't make it over the winter.

Since the Nor'easter in early March did some significant tree damage in our area, I wanted to request that Hickory Farms homeowners be proactive and do a tree health assessment of your property and the neighboring properties beside you. If you see a tree not doing well on your neighboring property, please do the following:

Neighbors Property - This includes if your neighbor resides in Fairfax City or the Glenmere neighborhood. If you see a tree that is not doing well on your neighbors property, please take the first step and have a in person conversation with your neighbor about it.

Fairfax County Property - If Fairfax County is your backyard neighbor, you can call 703.324.1770 or send them an email at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/ contact/mailform.aspx?ref= 70052 about the tree issue. The Urban Forestry Management division checks their email daily and they can forward the tree(s) in question to the correct division to take care of the issue. Please make sure you have the street coordinates, prior to sending the email or calling them.

Hickory Farms Common Area Property - If the tree is on common area property, please email: commonareas@hickoryfarms.com. The Common Area Coordinator can meet with you to see the tree in person, then work with a tree service company to evaluate the common area trees health. Please note - Please notify the Common Area Coordinator of trees health prior to it being 100% dead, it will help the board to budget tree clearing expenses appropriately for the following year.

On a side note - if you back up to a commons area and the tree is healthy and limbs are encroaching on your property. You have every right as a homeowner to trim back the limbs encroaching your property, but at your own cost, not the Association's, and you may not cut back so much that the tree dies. If in doubt, speak with the Common Areas Coordinator.

Deed and Declaration Change Status Update – Inching Closer!

We’ve climbed to 71 signed forms! Thanks to those who have signed! For property owners who have not signed, we need your help to complete this effort! Please sign and submit your Deed and Declaration Change form. Visits to non-responding homeowners have begun and are scheduled through July. Direct mailings are scheduled to non-resident lot owners in June. We are looking to complete this project before the next General Membership Meeting in October!

The Good News: 71 property owners (47.6% of 149 required) have signed and returned the Deed and Declaration change form.

The Not So Good News: 127 homeowners (52.4% of 198 total homeowners) have not signed and returned the form. A copy of the Amendment form is included in this Newsletter. If your property is owned by one or more persons, please include all owner printed names, signatures and dates on the form. If your property is owned by a trust, please have the trustee sign the form and note their trustee status. In order for the change to be effec-tive, we are required to obtain 149 out of our 198 (75%) lot owners to sign the form.

Background: At the Hickory Farms Community Association (HFCA) Annual Meeting in October 2017, the HFCA Board of Di-rectors recommended and the general membership approved a change to our Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions document. The change is necessary to update our Deed and Declaration document to align with recent Virginia court cases and Virginia Property Owners Association Act (VPOAA) recommended language.

If you have not signed and returned the form, please do so now!

You can:

  • drop the form off at my home, 4301 Still Meadow Road
  • give me a call and I will come and pick it up!
  • you can mail the form back to the HFCA Mailbox at: HFCA, P.O. Box 2239, Fairfax, VA 22031.

If you have any questions about the change to the Deed and Declaration document, please call me at 703-989-0751 and leave a voice message. I will call you back. Please help us keep Hickory Farms a great place to live and invest in by signing and returning the Amendment Form!

Bruce Bernhardt
VP HFCA, Board Member and fellow homeowner!

The Birds of Hickory Farms

- Bob Cosgriff, Cotton Farm Road

How to Create a Bird and Pollinator friendly Backyard Habitat

There are basically three things you need: food, water, and cover

Food can be store-bought bird seed or natural sources of seeds, nuts and nectar (for hummingbirds and pollinating insects). Such common plants as Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), coneflowers (Echinacea), Shasta daisies, goldenrod, asters, zinnias, etc. can provide compound seeds attractive to several species, but especially goldfinches. There are a number of tree species that produce small nuts, berries, and fruits that birds love. A useful website listing native plants of this area is http://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/Plants. Stores like Merrifield Gardens can also help point you to the best native plants and trees.

Water is best provided by a bird bath. Use a small recirculating pump to eliminate mosquito problems, and remember to clean the bath regularly. To keep the birdbath open in the winter, you should use a small heater unit available at most bird stores and hardware stores. Do you have an annoying low spot in your yard that is always mushy and hard to mow? Why not convert it into a rain garden? This will use the moisture to support a variety of plants that will add beauty to your yard, attract birds, and reduce run-off from your yard. Another possibility is a built-in water feature with a recirculation pump. These can be built or bought. Just be sure that the feature has gently sloping sides and is not deep (no more than 3”-4”) or else the birds will not use it for a bathing area.

Cover (to escape from predators and also for places to raise young) is provided by natural vegetation, everything from tall trees to shrubs to suitable native ground cover. There should be layers of cover: low, understory, mid-story and canopy, since different birds prefer different heights for feeding and nesting. A small brush pile of yard clippings is always a good bird attractor. Even a woodpile counts as cover!

While it can take a few years to get everything growing to provide the desired quantity and diversity of food sources and cover, any first steps should yield results. In addition to birds, other forms of wildlife will move into a naturalized setting, including turtles, bats, and chipmunks. One other thing: do not use insecticides or herbicides, or if you do, use those that are certified organic and non-toxic. Ordinary chemicals can be harmful to a wide variety of creatures other than the intended target. We’ve found that nature has a way of keeping things in balance in our yard without the need for chemical intervention.

Starting now to create your own backyard habitat will provide enjoyment, as well as enhance the attractiveness of your yard, and it might even cut down on the amount of mowing you have to do!

So how do you start? First, look at your yard. What is in your yard already? What is near your yard that can serve as a ‘launch pad’ into your yard for birds? You might already have some of the initial components in or bordering on your yard. Then consider what parts of your yard is in full sun, and for how long. This will guide where and what kind of plants and trees you might want to plant. Make a sketch and lay out what you want to do before you start planting. It will really help you get the right things in the right places. Taller trees and shrubs should go at the back or on the sides of your yard, with shorter vegetation in front of them. You might want to consider an area of dense vegetation (e.g., hollies and/or evergreens) to anchor the backyard habitat. Then create a somewhat more open landscape in front of it. Leave plenty of space for any bird feeders. No feeder should be within 10’ of a tree, or else you will have squirrels eating your birdseed! On the subject of bird feeders, what type of food should you offer? There are three categories:

Seed: There are four essential seeds: black-oil sunflower, safflower, nyjer (thistle), and millet. Buy them separately. Mixes are overpriced and don’t always contain the best types of seeds (often they mix in red millet and corn, and minimize the sunflower and safflower).

Suet: this is a favorite of woodpeckers and nuthatches, but many other birds, including bluebirds, wrens and warblers love suet as well.

Nuts: peanuts, shelled or in the shell (Blue Jays go nuts for the latter!)

Then you will need the right feeder for each category. Sunflower and safflower can go into platform, hopper, or tube feeders. Nyjer can be presented in either a tube feeder or a ‘sock’ feeder. Millet can be cast on the ground, where it will attract juncos, sparrows, house finches, and mourning doves. Peanuts (shelled) can go into tube feeders with the right sized mesh. Whole peanuts in the shell work best in platform feeders.

Keep open bags of seeds in a closed container or the refrigerator. Otherwise, you might attract rodents. Another problem is insects that lay eggs in seeds that then hatch and eat them! (I keep my bags refrigerated and have not had this problem.)

Suet can go into suet cages, or pre-drilled wooden hanging suet. If you do not use raccoon baffles on your suet feeder, be sure that you use “hot pepper” suet to deter squirrels and raccoons.

Put your feeders where you can see them. I don’t recommend window feeders. Keep them out in the yard. You do need to clean them occasionally and you should remove the seed shells periodically to avoid attracting vermin. If you use ‘red hot’ suet, you can hang a suet basket right on a tree trunk.
The initial set-up can cost some money for poles, baffles, and the feeders themselves. Look around at various stores for the best deal. Home Depot, Loew’s, Walmart, The Wild Bird Center and Merri-field all sell bird supplies. You don’t have to put in a full array right away. Decide what you want to start with. I’d recommend black oil sunflower, peanuts, and suet.

Hummingbird feeders are a separate story. I would recommend going with wildflowers to attract hummers. Plants with tubular red flowers are best, but hummers will go to other plants as well (petunias, vinca). Check with Merrifield or online for a list of the best native flowers for humming-birds.

If you do buy a hummingbird feeder, buy a small one. Make your own nectar (boil 1 cup of water with ¼-cup of granulated sugar). Do not buy commercial mixes (the red ones!) Hang the feeder in the sun, near flowers. You should replace the nectar at least weekly. Be sure to buy a feeder with an ant-trap cup on the top. Otherwise, your feeder will fill up quickly with ants!

Okay, that pretty much covers the basics. Let us know if you have any questions.

Student Services

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

Paul Cannata (18)
Mowing, shoveling, cleaning, mulching or just about any odd job you can come up with.
Dominic Cannata (17)
Mowing, shoveling, cleaning, mulching or just about any odd job you can come up with.
Cody Dempster (16)
Yard work (raking leaves, lawn mowing, etc.) snow shoveling, housework
Erika Maaseide (16)
703 659-5321
Babysitting; has experience with Spe-cial Needs children
Dylan Mehrman (16)
Lawn mowing
Anna Rashkover (17)
Babysitting, dog sitting & dog walking

George Mason Fitness Memberships

Get a great workout — practically in your own backyard — at any of the 3 George Mason University gyms listed below! Join your HFCA neighbors as a corporate member of Mason Fitness. Annual membership rates are competitive with area gyms and you can’t beat the location!

Membership (currently $450 for August 31, 2017 – August 31, 2018) includes access to:

  1. Aquatic and Fitness Center, which has a variety of fitness programs, cardio and strength equipment, and aquatic amenities and programs https://recreation.gmu.edu/ facilities/aquatic-and- fitness-center/
  2. Recreation and Athletic Center (the “RAC”) which has three gymnasiums, racquetball courts, squash courts, and a two story fitness gallery https://recreation.gmu.edu/ facilities/rac/
  3. Skyline Fitness Center which features cardio, weight training/strength equipment and a basketball court. This gym is open 24 hours during the fall and spring semesters https://recreation.gmu.edu/ facili-ties/skyline-fitness/

Other features include:

  • Recreational pool
  • Whirlpool & Sauna
  • Extensive group exercise program
  • Fitness & Aquatic programs
  • Weight training/strength gallery
  • Cardio gallery
  • Cycle studio & multipurpose room
  • Olympic size pool
  • Dedicated room for stretching and light weight use
  • Men’s and women’s locker rooms
  • Family changing room

Mason’s corporate membership policy requires us to provide a roster with each member’s full name, ad-dress, and date of birth. Members must be residents of Hickory Farms.

Please contact Jennifer Maloney at jmaloney57@gmail.com, you wish to renew your membership or be-come a new member. Annual membership fees for 2018-2019 will be announced this summer and will be due early August 2018.