Hickory Farms

May 2024 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Jennifer Maloney (Farm House Ln)

Hickory Farms Community Yard Sale is Almost Here!!

By Pete Scala

Finally! NOW it’s time to sign up for our community yard sale! Well, from now until May 15th. Call and leave a voicemail at (703) 764-0730 or send an email to Pete at scalapr@verizon.net

The Yard Sale will be held on Saturday, May 18th, from 8am to noon.

As in past years, HFCA does the advertising, posts signs, and distributes maps showing yard sale locations (but not names). Because we usually have many families participating, we always get a much better customer turnout than single family or 2 or 3 family yard sales.

The way it works? That Saturday morning you put out your items for sale in your front yard, and shoppers use the map we provide to go to participating houses.

In order to cover costs, a nominal charge is required for participating houses. HFCA is covering some of the costs. Regardless, it is never more than $10, and could be less, depending on how many sign up. Pete will come by to collect after the yard sale is over.


  1. Select worthwhile items to sell. You may have some true junk to sell; but your chances of selling it, or anything else, go up if you get people to look at your stuff by having good things out there.
  2. Prepare your merchandise ahead of time. Wash and press clothes, dust and polish furniture, paint, and oil old bikes, make sure electronics work and have demo CDs, tapes, etc.
  3. Buy some change from the bank ahead of time. You'll need bills and coins; how much depends on how many things you have for sale, and what prices you pick (if your stuff is all 5.99, 11.59, etc., you better have a lot of pennies).
  4. Put prices on your sale items the night before; use large tags. People will try to bargain you down, so take that into account when you pick your asking price.
  5. Put out your sale items in an attractive display. Run extension cords to power electrical appliances, so you can demonstrate they work.
  6. Be ready early on Saturday morning. Aggressive yard sale shoppers start as early as 6:30 a.m., going from yard sale to yard sale. If you're out there, you can get their business.
  7. Have a chair to sit on and a partner to work with. The day will get long. You might have to take a break. You might want to make up some lemonade the day before, as well.
  8. Sign up with neighbors. The more adjacent houses that are selling things, the more likely buyers are to stop by. The yard sale maps will highlight which sales are close to other sales, and you will get more shoppers.

The Birds of Hickory Farms

By Bob Cosgriff

April is a transitional month for birds. Some birds that winter here begin to move on to their breeding grounds whereas others arrive from farther south. So it was this year, with Slate-colored Juncos were last seen on 14 March, while House Wren showed up on that day and Gray Catbird the next day. As this article goes to the editor on 26 April, we have logged eight new birds for the year in April bringing our total to 46 species seen in or flying over our yard: Brown Thrasher, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Purple Finch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, House Wren, Gray Catbird, Great Blue Heron (flying over), and Cedar Waxwing. Hopefully, by 30 April, we will be able to add a few more species to the list. Typically, we reach about 50 birds by 1 May, which marks the start of big influx of neo-tropical migratory species. Last year’s migration was very disappointing due to weather factors, so we’re hoping that this year will be more normal in terms of weather which should lead to a higher species count.

Last year, the first Purple Martins were sighted at our colony on 18 May. I ran into Mike Bishop, the director of the Northern Virginia Purple Martin Initiative at George Mason in mid-April and saw about two dozen adult martins swirling about over Mason Pond and alighting on the two colonies there. Mike explained that the adults come back first, with last year’s hatchlings following later. Since the adults will probably take all the spaces at Mason, the late arrivals will be looking for a home and we are the closest site. So far this year, I haven’t seen any martins in Hickory Farms, but I am hopeful that by mid-May we will see some returnees and perhaps some new birds.

On the bluebird trail, there is good news to report. We have three active bluebird boxes, totaling 13 eggs. They were laid at different times, so the hatchings will be sequential by box. We also observed a pair of Tree Swallows inspecting a box in the upper commons where swallows have nested before. Hopefully, they will take the box and be able to fend off sparrows. We continue to remove invasive House Sparrow nests from several boxes. It seems that the ones with the plexiglass “skylights” deter sparrows whereas the ones without this feature are the ones in which sparrows attempt to nest. Jarrett Stark has kindly agreed to retrofit six boxes so that we will have nine of 10 boxes with plexiglass skylight installed. This might just solve the sparrow problem once and for all. (The 10th box is a ‘slot box’ which is designed to thwart sparrows and so far seems to be doing so.)

Our Bird of the Month for June is Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum).

Waxwings are very beautiful birds; dapper might be a better adjective to describe them. They are slender with a creamy color above and yellowish below and wear a black mask around their eyes. A bright red feather tip on a secondary flight feather of each wing reminded people in the past of a wax seal on a document, hence the name. The tip of their tail is yellow. Perhaps their most distinctive feature is a backswept crest. As the name suggests, they like cedar berries but any berries will do when cedars are not available. They tend to congregate in loose flocks of up to 20 birds and are nomadic. While they are here in Virginia year-round, their comings and goings are unpredictable, so we always consider it a special treat to see them. Our sighting was of three birds, and true to their name, one bird did fly into our cedar tree to check it out. Later on, I saw a larger flock of about 20 birds flying overhead from west to east, probably heading for the Fairfax Memorial Cemetery across Burke Station Road. To learn more about our Bird of the Month, click on https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Cedar_Waxwing/id#

Just a reminder: the first two weeks of May are the peak of the spring migration here. This timeframe also coincides with the blooming of azaleas, dogwoods, and other beautiful early spring flowers. I hope you will get out into our common areas or perhaps a nearby park to take in the beauty of the season and see some of the migratory birds passing through our area. I hope to have some exciting sightings to report in the June newsletter.

Help Keep our Common Areas Looking Beautiful

Please visit the calendar for upcoming weeding, mulch spreading, ground cover planting events. Helpful hands are always welcome to help keep our Common Areas looking beautiful!

In-Person Early Voting Underway for Tuesday, June 18, 2024, Democratic and Prepublican Primaries

In-person early voting is available for the June 18, 2024, Democratic and Republican Primaries from May 3 to June 15 at the Fairfax County Government Center:
Weekdays: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays: (June 8 and June 15): 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed May 27 (Memorial Day)

For more information, visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/early-voting

Traffic Advisory: Area Graduations at Eaglebank Arena

Beginning Sunday, May 12, at 1:00 pm for Northern Virginia Community College, and through Tuesday, June 11, heavy traffic is expected on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus for area 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 3 at 9:30 a.m. – Annandale High School
  • Monday, June 3 at 2 p.m. – Robinson High School
  • Monday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m. – Lewis High School
  • Tuesday, June 4 at 9:30 a.m. – Mount Vernon High School
  • Tuesday, June 4 at 2:00 p.m. – Lake Braddock High School
  • Tuesday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. – Westfield High School
  • Wednesday, June 5 at 9:30 a.m. – Centreville High School
  • Wednesday, June 5 at 2 p.m. – Herndon High School
  • Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. – Edison High School
  • Thursday, June 6 at 9:30 a.m. – West Springfield High School
  • Thursday, June 6 at 2:00 p.m. – Woodson High School
  • Thursday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. – Justice High School
  • Friday, June 7 at 9:30 a.m. – Chantilly High School
  • Friday, June 7 at 2 p.m. – Falls Church High School
  • Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. – South Lakes High School
  • Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. – Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
  • Monday, June 10 at 9:30 a.m. – Hayfield High School
  • Monday, June 10 at 2 p.m. – South County High School
  • Tuesday, June 11 at 9:30 a.m. – Oakton High School
  • Tuesday, June 11 at 2:00 p.m. – West Potomac High School

Join Our Listserv

Don’t miss any news! There’s no better way to stay in touch than through our Hickory Farms email listserv. Visit Email Listserv and follow the instructions.

HFCA Board Meeting Notice

HFCA Board Meetings are held via Microsoft Teams. 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.

Student Yellow Pages

Lily Bucher lrbucher4@gmail.com Babysitter/Mother's Helper, Pet Sitting
Kiera Stark commonareas@hickoryfarms.org Pet Sitting
Greysen Berg 210-428-5535 Yard Work, Leaf Raking
Cedar Batz 571-398-1467 Dog Walking, Dog Sitting

If you offer services such as those listed above, or others such as tutoring, etc., and wish to be included in future listings, please email the Newsletter Editor at newsletter@hickoryfarms.org.

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

Newsletters are distributed via the HFCA listserv and posted on the HFCA website. All are encouraged to
access the digital newsletter via the listserv or the HFCA website.