I am still hearing an owl hoot as I walk along Wildcat Boulevard early each morning. He doesn’t sound off every day, but often enough for me to welcome and enjoy his call.

I am still hearing an owl hoot as I walk along Wildcat Boulevard early each morning. He doesn’t sound off every day, but often enough for me to welcome and enjoy his call.
A skunk welcomes me somewhere on the trail almost every morning. It is not the same one each day as one is larger and has a great deal of white, another looks like a skunk in wildlife photograph, and one has small white stripes and a great deal of black. They do not bother me, but I try not to get too close.
I have been doing some reading and have found many interesting articles. I read that the Missouri Prairie Foundation will open up its Carver Prairie to “first time dove hunters” of any age in September.
If interested, call Jerod Huebner at 417-414-4700. The hunts will be scheduled “as the sunflower field is ready.”
The Garlic Festival will be held at the Botanical Center in Springfield on September 7 from 6-9 p.m. I was taken by the slogan they use: “Bad breath, Great taste, Good nutrition.”
Did you read that the “Beverly Hillbillies” Mansion is for sale. It is listed  to sell for $350 million dollars and is currently the “most expensive home for sale in the United States of America.”
The wine industry of Missouri continues to grow. It is a $1.76 billion industry which employees 15,000 full time workers. There are almost 2,000 acres of vineyards in the state of Missouri.
I recently read that a fisherman had caught an eel in one of the lakes in Southwest Minnesota. This rarity caused the eel to be photographed and a story written about it in the local paper. It seems that eels and the eel industry have exploded on the east coast.
In Maine, where there are 400 licensed eel fishermen(elvers), prices have gone as high as $2000 a pound. One elver earned $350,000 in 2012.
Because of these high prices, poachers have sneaked in and complicated the eel industry. Enforcement is now required to preserve the eel population for future generations. From one to 40 million dollars worth of eels are exported from the United States each year. Didn’t we once have an eel population in the Ozarks streams?
I have begun seeing cattle egrets in the west side of Newton County. They made their presence about 20 years ago and then seemed to move back west. Cattle egrets have become one of the greatest natural expansion creatures of recent times. What we once saw in movies about the African Savannah with cattle egrets walking beside and sitting on top of grazing animals is now seen locally.  
Take a walk, keep up on your reading of interesting facts and stories about the world, use the signal lights on your vehicle, and see what you notice or think about while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.                                                                                                                                                                             

Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.