Hickory Farms

May 2017 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Don Seymour (Farm House Ln)

Spring Egg Hunt!

Here are some photos from this year’s egg hunt, which landed on a beautiful Saturday and was a ton of fun. Thank you social committee for planning, Ellie for excellent character acting, and all who stuffed and hid eggs.

Needed: Treasurer

Good with numbers? Want to get involved in the community? HFCA needs a new treasurer! If you’re interested, send us an email at hfca@hickoryfarms.org and let us know!

Many thanks to Brenda Denny for her service, and to Dante Gilmer for stepping in as acting treasurer!

Bunco Night!

We have 12 regular players and meet the 3rd Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM. But when someone can’t make it, we need a substitute. For questions or to be added to the sub list, email Krissy at krissylunsford@gmail.com.

1st Annual Corn Hole Tournament

Please Join us for Hickory Farms’
Saturday, May 20
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Upper Commons Area

No prior playing experience needed. Please feel free to bring your own beverage!

For more information and to RSVP go to:

Please leave the kids and teenagers at home! This will be an event for the adults of the neighborhood.

ACC Approvals & Disapprovals

Your monthly update on the changes and improvements to the neighborhood that have been submitted to the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) for review.


  • 4317 Farm House, install deck
  • 4326 Still Meadow, replace patio
  • 4357 Farm House, replace siding & roof and paint shutters
  • 4326 Still Meadow, replace patio (revision)
  • 4322 Still Meadow, enclose carport
  • 4352 Harvester Farm, change front door color


  • NONE

Community Kudos

Bob Cosgriff and his wife Judy have provided a spring update to both corners entering Hickory Farms, and they look great!

Anyone else wishing to help out with keeping the Hickory Farm entrance corners in top shape all year long should send an email to hfca@hickoryfarms.org and we will get back to you asap! Thank you in advance!

Home Maintenance Checklist

  • Gutter Cleaning: clean out your gutters! Overflowing gutters lead to ground erosion and wet basements.
  • Deck Cleaning: clean and seal your wooden deck, if needed.
  • Termite Inspection: houses the age of Hickory Farms will have been attacked by termites by now. If your home has never been treated, get it inspected! Many pest control companies will inspect for free; termite inspections are recommended every three years.
  • Dehumidifier Setup: set up your dehumidifier for the summer (if you use one)!
  • Chimney & Fireplace Cleaning: have a chimney sweep check and clean the chimney – if you used the chimney during the winter.
  • Schedule your spring checkup for your air conditioner and heat pump, and test smoke alarms & carbon monoxide detectors!

Update of HFCA Deed of Dedication Changes

- Bruce Bernhardt, HFCA President

At the Hickory Farms Community Association (HFCA) last October, the need for changes to the Deed of Dedication and Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, which applies to every individual property in HFCA, was identified. Since the Annual Meeting, we have received an Opinion Letter from our attorney confirming the need to change our Deed of Dedication based on recent Virginia court decisions. We have also received draft language for the change to our Deed of Dedication.

At the Annual Meeting, a small group of property owners signed up to assist with this effort. It is now time to begin the process. An email was sent in early April to the eight volunteers from the Annual Meeting. For those homeowners who did not attend the Annual Meeting but who would like to assist with this effort, please send me an email addressed to hfca@hickoryfarms.org providing your name and contact information (phone number and email address).

We will hold an initial meeting soon to develop a plan for visiting and obtaining signatures from at least 149 out of 198 homeowners.

If you have any questions, please contact me at the hfca@hickoryfarms.org email address.

Birds of Hickory Farms - Part 1

- Bob Cosgriff

No sooner had I submitted last month’s article to the newsletter editor when we added another new bird to our year yard list on 26 March: Purple Finch. These beautiful birds are not to be confused with the more common (and similar) House Finch that is here year-round. Purple Finch males are described as having been dipped bodily in cranberry juice, which makes them look dark purple all over. Male House Finches, by comparison, show more of an orange-red color on the head, throat and above the tail. The Purple Finch females do not show any color, but are nonetheless very attractive with bold brown striping on their breast and flanks, and a pronounced white “eyebrow.” These “winter finches” are here only in migration to and from breeding grounds in Canada. This year, they have lingered at our sunflower seed feeders and were still here on April 27, making this the most prolonged stay we’ve ever had in our yard.

Shortly after the finches showed up, so did a pert, little Chipping Sparrow, a true harbinger of spring. That gave us a total of four new species for March. There was a lull in the action until mid-April, when House Wren, Myrtle (“Yellow-rumped”) Warbler and Gray Catbird showed up within one week of each other. As this article goes to the editor, we have seen a total of 38 different species of birds in our yard so far in 2017. In terms of the average number of birds per day, April stands at 16 species (for 26 observation days) with the one-day high being 24 and the one-day low being 11. Our four-month total daily average is also 16 species. Just which birds show up each day is what makes observing birds so interesting.

Meanwhile, on the bluebird trail, the five eggs previously reported hatched right on time in mid-April. These nestlings should fledge in early May. So far this year, we have encountered only a few House Sparrow nests in our boxes, and are hopeful for more bluebirds to nest in May. At press time, there were no other active nests in our boxes. However, on 23 April, we did see two Tree Swallows flying above the upper com-mon grounds where they have nested be-fore, so perhaps in May we will see them begin to nest.
This article is going to press just before the expected big influx of warblers and other neo-tropical migrants. We’ll cover the re-sults in the next newsletter, so enjoy the beautiful springtime weather in Hickory Farms and stay tuned for further develop-ments in the world of birds.

Birds of Hickory Farms - Part 2

- Bob Cosgriff

As you read this article, the bluebird nesting season is just getting underway. There was a complete nest (no eggs) in one box in the lower common grounds noted on March 24th. In the September, 2016 newsletter, I promised to pass on any information from the Virginia Bluebird Society about results for Fairfax County and the state as a whole for 2016 compared to 2015. Here is a summary of the data:

  • Overall, bluebird numbers increased slightly in 2016, which is good news, since there was a sharp falloff in 2015 compared to the two previous years
  • Fairfax County had 721 boxes with 413 taken by bluebirds
  • The bluebird success rate (successful fledgings/eggs laid) was 74% for Fairfax County
  • Hickory Farms had two successful Eastern Bluebird broods (10 eggs/8 successful fledgings) and two unsuccessful attempts (5 eggs/0 fledgings) for a success rate of 53%.
  • Statewide, Tree Swallow nestings and success rates remained relatively stable. We had no Tree Swallow attempts
  • Other cavity-nesting species noted statewide were Carolina Chickadee and House Wren. We had two successful wren attempts and no chickadee attempts.
  • All our successes (bluebirds and house wrens) were in boxes in the lower common grounds
  • The VBS report stated that overall numbers for all species statewide might possibly been higher overall in 2016, except for a cold snap last April at the start of nesting and a very hot August at the end of the season that might have killed some eggs/young

This year, we will be looking for the following on our trail:

  • Higher success rate overall for bluebirds
  • Higher success rate in the upper common grounds, which prior to 2016 was roughly comparable to the lower common grounds
  • Return of Tree Swallows to Hickory Farms
  • Fewer House Sparrow attempts

Finally, as an update on our ongoing backyard bird census. For 24 observation days, we averaged 17 species/day. Our running three-month average is 16/day. New birds for March were Common Grackle and Northern Mockingbird, bringing our yard total to 34 species to date. A March highlight was a Fox Sparrow that visited for fourteen consecutive days (11-24 March). This is the longest stayover by this species that we have recorded. (Another Fox Sparrow visited in February for one day.)

Beginning in early- to mid- April, more species will start to show up in Hickory Farms: Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, Tree Swallow and others. You will begin to hear much more bird song in the morning and throughout the day as males establish territories and try to attract females. You can never tell where or when a given species will appear—perhaps in your backyard! The peak migration will be in early May as warblers and other colorful neo-tropical migrants such as Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager and Baltimore Oriole move through our area in numbers. So keep your eyes and ears open for the next month or so as this annual cycle begins anew. Happy Springtime!

Volunteer for Neighborhood Watch

Have you emailed Debbi Buchanan (simplydebbi1@gmail.com) about volunteering for Neighborhood Watch yet? If not, send her a note now. And join our listserv for the latest shift updates.

Neighbor Appointed to County Committee

Hickory Farms resident Bob Cosgriff has been appointed by Braddock District Supervisor John Cook to serve a two-year term on the Trails and Sidewalks Committee, effective March 1. This advisory board was established in 1978 to develop a plan for a “non-motorized transportation system” by developing a comprehensive county-wide route network for pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians. This system serves both recreational needs and contributes to reducing congestion and pollution by providing alternative means of moving about the county.

If you have any comments or suggestions on the topic of trails and sidewalks, please contact Bob at (703) 764-0720 or bandjcoz@gmail.com.

Newsletter Contributors Wanted!

Do you like writing? Taking photos? Have an idea for an article or feature you’d like to share with your neighbors? Want to contribute a little something extra to this amazing community we call home?
If you answered “yes” — or even just nodded slightly—to any of these questions, then email me at donseymour@gmail.com, and let me know. I’d love your help as I work to carry on and build upon the strong traditions of our community newsletter.

Did You Sign Up for Cornhole?

I’m originally from the Midwest where cornhole is basically an Olympic sport. So I hope to see you in the upper commons area on Saturday, May 20, for our first annual cornhole tournament:

  • sign up online (see page 3 for details)
  • leave the kids at home on 5/20 at 6 PM
  • bring the beverage of your choice
  • prepare to have more fun than people should be allowed while tossing small bean bags at wooden boards

HFCA Email

There’s a new way to reach the HFCA Board of Directors: hfca@hickoryfarms.org. Any questions, recommendations, concerns — email us and we’ll get back to you asap!

Abridged Minutes: 4/4/17 Board Mtg

The following is an abridged / sample version of the meeting minutes from the last HFCA Board of Directors meeting on April 4, 2017. Read the full minutes on hickoryfarms.org.

Water Runoff on Northern Path: Fairfax City residents have an open pipe that drains by the northern path in Hickory Farms, causing water to drift towards and over the northern path black asphalt. Bruce raised the issue with Fairfax County, and will update the board.

Common Grounds: This year’s Green Leaf agreement is the same price as the past two years. Don L. is allocating money saved by the garden club cleaning the front signage area toward cleaning up debris in the commons areas.

Signage Wording for the Northern Path/Rabbit Run/Fairfax City Entrance: There has been a lot of activity along our paths; Hickory Farms signs will be put up along these entrances, and we will add a sign indicating that there is no dumping or trespassing.

Common Grounds Health Check: Melissa requested considering a 5 year plan for clearing common grounds of invasive plants. The board agreed a plan and cost analysis should be prepared before next annual meeting; Melissa will work with vendors and put together a proposal.