Hickory Farms

June 2022 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Jennifer Maloney (Farm House Ln)

President's Column

By: Jim Bever

As this Newsletter goes to print, our Hickory Farms community is in full bloom!

By time that you get this Newsletter, we hopefully will have had the Spring Fling scheduled for Sunday, May 29th at 4:30pm in the Upper Commons, featuring Kona Ice Dessert Truck snow cones and Social Committee-organized games for all, with residents “bringing their own picnic”. Kona Ice treats were funded via our Social Committee’s annual Budget expense line. Many thanks to the Social Committee!

CALL FOR FOUR OR MORE VOLUNTEERS to help distribute our hard-copy Monthly Newsletters to our fellow neighbors! Each of the newsletter routes covers about 25 houses. Please contact me below or our Newsletter Editor Jennifer Maloney via newsletter@hickoryfarms.org. Meanwhile, I urge you to join our GoogleGroup listserv—which may in future be the main way that we keep most of you informed!

NEIGHBORHOOD YARD SALE was a success! Thanks again to Pete Scala for organizing this annual event!

SAVE THE DATE! Hickory Farms Spring Garden Tour is all set for Saturday, June 25. Twice as many homeowners showing this year! See Bob’s article inside.

REMINDER! ANNUAL HOUSE-to-HOUSE EXTERIOR & YARD INSPECTION is planned by the end of June. With good weather, it’s time to touch up, clean up, clear out your carport, trim your bushes, spray or power wash mildew areas on your structures, and keep your lawn neat and cut.

REMINDER! All changes or improvements of your home’s exterior, fences, out-buildings, et al. require written (email OK) application allowing 30 days in advance for review/decision by the ACC. Questions? Contact acc@hickoryfarms.org and see our website hickoryfarms.org , search “ACC”.

ACC PROCESS REVIEW ad-hoc committee held its first organizational meeting as planned on May 21. Much thanks to ACC Chair Pam Barrett, ACC Member Donna Garfield, HFCA Member-At-Large Telah Jackson, former ACC Chair Bob Sottile, Neighborhood Block Representative Justin Mensen, immediate past HFCA president Sean Coleman, and homeowners Lyndsey Hovde and Jim Genuardi. A few other interested ACC Members and interested homeowners were not able yet to join. Our aim is to provide the Board by the end of June with findings about the important hard work that is done for all of us by the ACC and relevant ideas for the Board’s consideration in July for further improvement of our community. Any homeowner interested in joining this effort, please let me know via email below.

OUR BRADDOCK DISTRICT COUNCIL, which coordinates issues between our surrounding Homeowner Associations and similar community residential associations and with the Braddock District Supervisor, invites you to volunteer to serve as an officer (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer). BDC meets quarterly (now via videoconference) for two hours. HFCA has provided leaders for BDC over the years. Please let me know by email below before June 10.

HICKORY FARMS WINS PRESTIGIOUS FAIRFAX FRIENDS OF TREES AWARD -- Please see the formal Certificate for this competitive award in this Newsletter. Bravo to all of the Volunteers of our Common Areas Committee and to the leadership of Committee Chair Melissa Stark, Jarrett Stark, & Bob Cosgriff!

I hope you had a safe Memorial Day holiday!

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.

Traffic Alert: High Traffic Volume Near Eaglebank Arena

Graduation season is upon us! Area high schools will be celebrating the achievements of their graduates from Thursday, May 26 to Friday, June 17, at EagleBank Arena. An influx of traffic surrounding the arena and the Fairfax Campus will occur during these events.
Click Here for Additional Details on the full schedule of graduation celebrations.

2nd Annual Hickory Farms Garden Tour!

By: Bob Cosgriff

The inaugural garden tour in 2021 was so well-received that we are going to do it again in 2022!

Circle the date: Saturday, 25 June from 1-4 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, 26 June, same time. Eight new hosts will join five repeat hosts to provide a wider variety of gardening approaches than last year. The 2022 tour will offer you the chance to see: pollinator gardens, shade gardens, swale gardens, rain gardens, terraced gardens, container gardens, vegetable gardens, landscaping (stone retaining walls/planters and various types of garden pathways (natural surface, gravel, stepping stones, mulch), garden patios, water features, and a World Wildlife Federation-certified Backyard Habitat. Some of the gardens are professionally installed, while others are do-it-yourself by the owners. Whatever the case, the wide variety of gardens on the tour will show you what is possible in terms of creating an attractive and more environmentally friendly yard.

The properties on tour are shown below (** indicates new garden for 2022):

10003 Cotton Farm Rd. Bob and Judy Cosgriff
10013 Cotton Farm Rd. Melissa and Jarrett Stark
10019 Cotton Farm Rd.** Nancy Doolin
4360 Harvester Farm Larry and Carole Rogers
4356 Harvester Farm** Danielle Hawkins and Peter Handjinicolaou
4381 Harvester Farm** Ron and Louise Cruz
4330 Still Meadow Rd.** Ee Lin and Brian Roethlisberger
4328 Still Meadow Rd.** Janis Wise
4316 Still Meadow* * Brand and Katherine Niemann
10005 Tumbleweed Ct.** Tad and Stacy Weed
10007 Tumbleweed Ct. Arlene Da Cruz
10023 Wheatfield Ct. Roger and Carole Basl
4319 Farm House Rd** Rich and Patty Dudley

I’d like to thank all the host gardeners, previous and new alike, for agreeing to share their gardens with their neighbors and also for the amount of time they’ve spent planting, weeding, and maintaining their gardens, as well as showing them as part of the tour.

I encourage everyone in the neighborhood to support this 2022 tour. In addition to providing an enjoyable, safe, outdoor community social event, the HFCA garden tour is intended to provide you, the participants with ideas that you might want to try in your own yards. So again, circle the date: Saturday, 25 June, 1 – 4 p.m. (rain date: Sunday, 26 June, same time).

Please check the Listserv after 1 June for a flyer with a description of each yard on the tour.

Are You On Our Listserv?

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.

Volunteers Needed to Deliver Newsletters

Hickory Farms newsletter delivery depends on volunteers. We currently have 4 volunteers covering 8 routes. There should be one volunteer per route. If you can spare a few minutes each month delivering newsletters to your neighbors, please contact the Newsletter Editor at newsletter@hickoryfarms.org.

Community Yard Sale Report

By: Pete Scala

This year we were able to sign up 10 households and we had a large number of customers come through, so our advertising and signs worked out! Some Hickory Farms participants did very well. Everyone I talked with was satisfied. I was not able to print the maps at FedEx, so I printed them at home, so this year the other good news is that there was no fee charged to participating households.

As it turns out, having lots of participation, the word gets out, and we get more shoppers.

Thanks to everyone who signed up!

Student Yellow Pages

We are in the process of updating information on neighborhood students who offer services such as raking leaves, lawn mowing, babysitting, general home maintenance, dog walking, tutoring, etc. Please email the Newsletter Editor at newsletter@hickoryfarms.org, if you wish to be included in future listings.

The Birds of Hickory Farms

By: Bob Cosgriff

A small but enthusiastic group of children and parents gathered on 30 April to learn about birds while exploring Rabbit Run and the lower commons. The group saw several of the birds that are common to Hickory Farms and enjoyed the outing. Unfortunately, the adult tour scheduled for the following week (7 May) had to be cancelled due to inclement weather both that day and on the rain date the following day. We will try again in September during the fall migration.

The spring migration this year was rather disappointing. The prolonged cool, rainy, and windy weather is the culprit, in my opinion. It seems that the birds migrated around us or in some cases overflew us. This can happen due to wind direction and bad weather, either of which can alter the normal routes birds take. We did not see the variety of neo-tropical migrants that we expected to see based on previous years. Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos made a showing, as did both male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. We did not see any orioles, tanagers, or thrushes. We saw only five warbler species, an all-time low for us.

Our daily bird count, started on 1 January, reached 60 species seen in or flying over our yard by the time we terminated counting on 15 May, for an average of 22 species per day for the period. (A Blackpoll Warbler on 19 May brought our total to 61.) Our high day count was 30 species (5/2/22) and our low day was 15 on May 15th. Perhaps our most exciting day was 2 May, which started out with a singing Black-throated Blue Warbler and then a Blue-headed Vireo, which were followed by a Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Common Raven. Despite its name, the Common Raven is not common in Fairfax County, although we have seen them on eight occasions since 2016 in various parts of central Fairfax. While in my back yard, I heard the deep croaking call of the raven, followed by the much different cawing sound of a crow. Then four large black birds flew into view: a raven being pursued by three American Crows. I was able to get a good look at the raven to see its distinctive wedge-shaped tail. It was also much larger than the pursuing crows. The birds flew north over Burke Station Road towards Main Street. At one point, one of the crows dive-bombed the raven. It doesn’t get any better than that!

By this time, the breeding season is well underway. A bluebird nest in a box in the lower commons produced four hatchlings. Unfortunately, just a few days before they were set to fledge, all the birds were killed in the box by House Sparrows. Subsequently, a new nest was observed up the hill; however, at press time there were no eggs in it. In the upper commons, we have five bluebird hatchlings which will fledge at the end of May and a House Wren nest with five eggs in it. A tree Swallow nest was taken over by House Sparrows. We are hoping that the swallows will try again.

Stay tuned for more news about our bluebird trail and other sightings during the summer.

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 mail: webmaster@hickoryfarms.org.

Bird of the Month

By: Bob Cosgriff

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

The American Goldfinch is often called a “canary” by people because of its small size and the bright yellow and black plumage of the breeding male. Additionally, its song is somewhat canary-like, a sweet, musical “per-chic-oree, per-chic-oree” or “po-tat-o chip” usually given in flight. Goldfinches are typically seen in small flocks. When you hear this call, watch for the undulating flight of this bird. It seems to skip effortlessly through the air.

The American Goldfinch is one of three North American birds with “goldfinch” as part of their common name, the other two being Lesser Goldfinch and Lawrence’s Goldfinch, both which are western birds. When we were stationed in California, we saw both of these birds. The American Goldfinch is found in every state and is a year-round resident here. It is readily attracted in the winter to back yards by feeders featuring black oil sunflower seeds and thistle (nyjer). They are less obvious at feeders during breeding season.

Because their primary food is the compound seeds of such flowers as Black-eyed Susan, coneflowers, daisies, zinnias, and others, they breed later than other songbirds that are insectivorous in order to be synchronized with their food supply. But later in the summer and fall, they’ll be back in numbers with their offspring. At this point in the year, we still see them occasionally at our feeders, but with the regularity or in the numbers observed from January to May. In the breeding season, the adult male is unmistakable with its black cap and striking black wings. While both male and female goldfinches’ plumage is more muted after the breeding season, they are still recognizable as goldfinches in the winter by their pale yellowish bodies and dark wings with wing bars. No other bird with any yellow in their plumage is seen here in the winter.

Goldfinches are very acrobatic feeders. They will hang upside down on flowers to extract seeds. The same is true at feeders. There are three types of nyjer feeders: fine-mesh metal tube feeders, sock feeders, and plastic tube feeders with multiple feeding ports. I prefer the latter. I’ve never had much luck with sock feeders. Whatever type of feeder you choose, be sure that it is on a pole with a baffle because squirrels also like nyjer and can chew right through most any feeder. Even so-called ‘squirrel proof” nyjer feeders may not actually prevent squirrels from getting at the seeds.

The best tube feeder has the feeding ports below the protruding pegs that the birds use as a perch. As noted, goldfinches have no problem hanging upside down to eat. But the unrelated, larger and more aggressive House Finch cannot do this, thus leaving the seeds for the goldfinches.

Droll Yankee and Perky Pet are two well-known manufacturers of the ‘upside down’ goldfinch flock feeder; their products are readily available in bird stores and from many online vendors. Look for one with at least six feeding ports. It is great fun to see several goldfinches eating at once while others wait their turn in nearby trees.

Go to https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Goldfinch/id/ to find information on its lifestyle, range, and vocalizations, as well as to view excellent photos of male and female birds in both breeding and non-breeding plumages, as well as juvenile birds.