They cluster in twos and sometimes threes. I pick only those I can reach from terra firma or by standing on top of the pump house, the only time I ever do anything so foolish. Still I filled a basket.
Within the spicy-fragrant (like Old Spice shaving lotion) green husk is a small brown husk hiding the nut. The green husk dries to brown, splits, and must be removed, and then the tight-as-a-leotard inner husk must dry; by that time, it's Christmas. Needing a drying rack and loath to buy one I raided the garage and made a duplex drying rack out of a plastic organizer that just never fit anywhere in the house and a screen that no longer has a window to match.
Ultimately I will have about a pound of nuts to look forward to. Cracking my own hickory nuts at Christmas is divine.