Hickory Farms

June 2023 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Jennifer Maloney (Farm House Ln)

Neighborhood Watch Update

Thank you, Hickory Farms Neighbors! We have a small, but mighty team for our summer schedule. Your neighborhood volunteers are:

  • Allie S
  • Bob Sottile
  • Carlie M
  • Chad P
  • David T
  • Jim & Barbara Bever
  • Justin M
  • Pete S
  • Sarah T
  • Steve K

You’ll soon see us walking or driving around on weekends. Each shift is minimally 45 minutes every couple of months.

If you’re interested in joining, please contact Allie Shaw at allieshaw@gmail.com for information and to be added to our roster.

Thank you in advance!

Rising Kindergarten Get-Together

If your child is entering kindergarten this year, let's find time to connect and meet fellow rising kindergarteners and their families in the neighborhood. If you're interested in setting up a time to meet and play this summer please contact Alyssa Eswood at koehn.alyssa@gmail.com or

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.

Architectural Control Committee Update: Upcoming Property Inspections

By Justin Mensen
(as posted to the listserv May 25, 2023)

Greetings, Hickory Farms Neighbors. I have lived in Hickory Farms since 2019 when my family and I moved to the area. In February I joined the Architectural Control Committee (ACC).

The reason I am sending this message is to inform everyone that in the coming weeks myself and other ACC members will be performing property inspections using the Hickory Farms Property Evaluation Checklist (published on the following pages and also available on the top right corner of the ACC Operating Procedures page: https://hickoryfarms.org/acc-operating-procedures).

After discussing with other longer-term members of the ACC we would like to offer to any interested homeowners the opportunity to schedule the date and time of your property inspection. This will allow you an opportunity to meet your neighbors on the ACC, and in real time give you a chance to bring any anticipated property changes, questions or concerns you have to their attention, especially those items that they may not otherwise notice from the sidewalk of your property.

If you would like to schedule a timeframe for your inspection, please reach out to the ACC at acc@hickoryfarms.org or you can send an email to just me at the ACC Chair email account ArchitecturalControl@hickoryfarms.org.

You can find the ACC Operating Procedures at: https://hickoryfarms.org/acc-operating-procedures

You can find detailed instructions on submitting applications that require approval per our Governing Documents at: https://hickoryfarms.org/acc-approval-process

Grass Height Reminder

With warm weather upon us, HFCA residents are reminded that excessive grass growth is a deficiency/violation of the Hickory Farms Property Evaluation Checklist, which is posted in the Architectural Control Committee section of the Hickory Farms website.

Also, per Fairfax County Code, Chapter 119, Grass or Lawn Area, grass height cannot exceed twelve inches (12"). Violations may be reported to the County, which may take action, including cutting the grass for the owner and then billing the owner. Unpaid bills can become a County lien against the property.

Thank you for doing your part in maintaining our community, which has resulted in excellent, ever increasing resale values and keeping Hickory Farms an outstanding community to live in!

Traffic Advisory: High School Graduations at Eaglebank Arena

Through Monday June 12, heavy traffic is expected on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus for local high school graduation ceremonies at EagleBank Arena. EagleBank will host up to three ceremonies on many days, so traffic will be entering and exiting campus (e.g., via Braddock Road, Route 123, Roberts Road) from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.

  • Monday, June 5 at 9:30 a.m - Westfield High School
  • Monday, June 5 at 2 p.m. - Centreville High School
  • Monday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. - Lake Braddock Secondary School
  • Tuesday, June 6 at 9:30 a.m - Edison High School
  • Tuesday, June 6 at 2 p.m - West Sprin gfield High School
  • Tuesday , June 6 at 7:30 p.m. - Woodson High School
  • Wednesday, June 7 at 9:30 a.m - Justice High School
  • Wednesday, June 7 at 2 p.m. - Chantilly High School
  • Wednesday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. - Herndon High School
  • Thursday, June 8 at 9:30 a.m - Falls Church High School
  • Thursday, June 8 at 2 p.m. - South Lakes High School
  • Thursday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. - Robinson Secondary School
  • Friday, June 9 at 9:30 a.m. - South County High School
  • Friday, June 9 at 2 p.m. - Oakton High School
  • Friday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m - Hayfield Secondary School
  • Saturday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m - Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
  • Monday, June 12 at 9:30 a.m. - Mount Vernon High School
  • Monday, June 12 at 2 p.m. - Lewis High School

Source: https://www.fcps.edu/graduation

Local Trail Life Troop Cleans Up Common Area

By Melissa Stark

Thank you for your Volunteerism Trail Life Troop VA-1115!

A huge thank you goes out to Trail Life Troop VA 1115! On May 20th, the boys helped remove stilt grass, vines and bonset from part of the new wooded area of the main island in the Upper Commons. This 2-hour service project not only helped clean up our commons, but helped Kellan earn his Worthy Life award and Elias earn his Timberline Award.

In the group photo, their names from left to right: Caiden, Joseph, Benjamin, Oliver, John, Luke, Elias, Kellan, and Caleb.

Birds of Hickory Farms

By Bob Cosgriff

The May migration was plagued with unseasonably cool, rainy weather, with periods of wind thrown in for good measure. Last year was much the same. All this conspired to dampen the migration and led to disappointing results overall. How ever the re we re some nice sightings: a female Rose breasted Grosbeak showed up on 25 April, and a pair of Brown Thrashers appeared on 28 April. During the month of April, we tallied ten new backyard birds to reach 40 species for the year. Typically, May is the big month. However, this year, we counted only 47 species before shutting down the daily count on 15 May. It was as though there was no migration this year. The obvious question is “Why?” There are many possible reasons. I lean toward weather patterns, with possible changes in winds that might have driven birds to our east or west or caused them to just fly right on over us in their sun driven schedule to get to their breeding grounds farther north. The weather was also cooler than usual in late April/early May, which might have been a factor. Another possibility is some unexplained sharp decline in bird populations from last year to this year. This seems less likely despite reports of avian flu outbreaks in parts of the United States. This disease seems to affect larger birds (ducks, geese, herons, etc.) but can spread to smaller birds as well.

As for the bluebird trail, we had five birds fledge out of one box in the lower commons, with four more scheduled to fledge at press time. In the upper commons, we found an adult male bluebird pecked to death by a House Sparrow in one box, a House Wren nest with six eggs in another box. As of press time, we had a Tree Swallow nest in a box in the upper commons. If they can successfully defend this box against House Sparrow predation, this would be the first swallow nesting in a few years. Stay tuned.

One May 18, I received two reports of Purple Martins being sighted flying around our colony. Judy and I went up to confirm the news. The martins were seen and photographed by other neighbors as well. The birds were spotted daily up until May 25, which is a positive sign that they will probably take up residence here.

In order to maximize the success of the martin colony, we ask everyone not to approach closer than 50 feet from the pole. Even at that distance, you might notice defensive behavior by the male martins. We also ask that you do not approach too closely to the bluebird boxes, and in particular, do not open them.

The annual HFCA spring migration bird outing drew only one taker this year, former HFCA president Jim Bever. The trip to Lake Mercer turned out to be a great outing on a perfect day for birding, with 27 species counted. Highlights included Louisiana Waterthrush (despite the name, a warbler), Black-and-White Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, Pileated Woodpecker, Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Greater Yellowlegs (a large sandpiper), Spotted Sandpiper, and Green Heron.

With the dearth of migration news to report, we can resume our Bird of the Month feature. For June, I have picked the American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis). Often mistakenly called a canary, the familiar goldfinch fills the summer with color and song. These birds are seed specialists, favoring the small compound seeds of many perennials such as black-eyed Susan, coneflowers, and thistle. They are easily attracted to backyard feeders by offering nyjer (thistle by another name) in tube feeders with small feeding ports. Goldfinches also eat sunflower seeds, either from sunflowers themselves or at feeders. However, thistle seems to be their favorite food. The breeding male bird is bright yellow with black wings and a black cap; the female is a drab yellow in color. The non-breeding male resembles the female. They are year-round birds here, but can be somewhat nomadic, disappearing for several days at a time before returning to their favorite feeder. Additional information and photographs can be found here:

One key to bird identification is to know in which species the male and female birds differ in plumage. The scientific term for this is ‘sexual dimorphism.’ Many familiar birds are not sexually dimorphic, for example, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, European Starling, White-breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, and Gray Catbird. Some birds, like American Robin and Eastern Bluebird, do exhibit subtle differences between male and female birds, but in both species both sexes look essentially alike. In addition to the American Goldfinch, the Eastern Towhee, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, and Baltimore Oriole show very pronounced sexual dimorphism. It is very easy to tell the difference between the male and female birds of these species. One reason male birds are more colorful has to do with survival: the female needs to be inconspicuous on the nest, so most female birds are very drab in color to blend in with their nests and surrounding vegetation.

The summer months are typically slower for new bird sightings. Breeding birds can be observed feeding their fledglings. Many species produce more than one clutch per season, so we are hopeful that our bluebirds will keep on nesting into July.

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.

Resident Info Needed for Rental Properties

The HFCA Board of Directors is making sure our records are up to date for all Hickory Farms properties. For those properties who are renting out their homes, please email your renters contact information (name, phone number and email) to hfca@hickoryfarms.org.

Don't Miss Any News! Join 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. 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.

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. Note: There will be no newsletter for July 2023.

Newsletters are distributed via the HFCA listserv and posted on the HFCA website. 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.