The dull thud of a black walnut falling to the ground is a common sound as I walk along Wildcat Boulevard each morning. October marks the beginning of black walnut season. It is the time when Hammons Products begins buying walnuts; black gold to those who pick up the sticky green orbs.

The dull thud of a black walnut falling to the ground is a common sound as I walk along Wildcat Boulevard each morning. October marks the beginning of black walnut season. It is the time when Hammons Products begins buying walnuts; black gold to those who pick up the sticky green orbs.
Black walnuts grow primarily wild here in the Ozarks and many people use the sale of them to supplement their incomes each fall.  Boy and girl scouts pick up walnuts for fund raising. Church use black walnuts as fund raisers. Some families pick up black walnuts for purchasing Christmas presents. Most people pick a few and shell them for a special cake they’ll bake the following year.
There are other nut sounds I hear each morning as I walk along. Sometimes I hear the rattle of an acorn falling on a roof. Of course, the sound is different when an acorn falls on a “tin” roof rather than an asphalt covered roof.
Down the street from us is a large hickory tree which is currently dropping its nuts. I don’t know many people who use hickory nuts, but the squirrels certainly like them. On my walk I pass under a pecan tree.
The squirrels have even quit eating our tomatoes to dine on pecans, black walnuts, acorns, and hickory nuts.
The sound of trains passing through town is almost constant early in the morning. There seems to be a Burlington Northern or a Kansas City Southern train rolling through at all times. I always think how many semi-trucks and trailers it would take to haul all the freight that trains do.
On quiet and still mornings, I can hear the ring of the automatic crossings and even the distant sound of the diesel horn. I miss hearing the diesel horns here in town. I guess they annoyed some people, so they complained and made a deal to stop the train horns.
I believe they traded the closure of some railroad crossings for keeping the trains quiet. I am not sure who got the best of that trade! I know I’ve complained about the loss of railroad crossings before, but it definitely is an example of “take the money and run.” Wonder what the money was used for.
The killdeer have returned for the winter. They make their piercing calls even when it is dark. I have not spotted one yet, but know they like to hang out at the practice/physical education field(the rock garden) just north of Neosho High School.
Quite a few cars and trucks are out early each morning. I wonder why the people get up at 5 a.m. and drive down Neosho Boulevard. I assume they are going to work. I like people working and hope they are happy to have a job.
We had some problems with our indoor/outdoor thermometer a couple weeks back. I use it to determine how many clothes to wear each morning. Soon temperatures will be cooling off, and I’ll have to get out gloves, a warm cap, and a coat.
Take a walk, listen for sweet natural sounds like the wind blowing through pine needles and the thud of nuts falling, use your signal lights, pick up a few nuts this fall, watch for pedestrians walking in the dark, and see what you notice while walking along Wildcat Boulevard.
 
Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.