You come across some awesome things turkey hunting. Some of my favorite scenes (and hunting setups) are near old homesteads. There’s the obvious ones with a chimney or foundation, maybe an apple orchard and even a cemetery. The less obvious may be a faint rock wall or a well that’s so overgrown you’d never know it was there unless you stumble upon it. They’re filled with history, and I can’t help but think about the bustling farm family that used to call it home. Ornery siblings teasing one another and playing too rough with their little sister and complaining about doing chores. A mother and father working hard to raise kids, crops and livestock. Preparing for each season of the year, and each season of life. Enduring the hard times and hard winters. Enjoying the good times and the sunny summers under the shade an old oak tree. The tire swing is long gone; the rope rotted away and the tire laying nearby, buried under decades of leaf litter. 

But the memories will never go away, and the turkeys will gladly stake claim to these prime spots. As long as there are old homesteads there will be toms to strut in them, hens to pick around and eat grasshoppers in what used to be the garden, and poults to run around with their siblings and do things that make their mother nervous. This is one of my favorite pieces to date, and it’s called “Homesteaders.”

36" x 24" Oil on canvas “Homesteaders” Original turkey painting by Ryan Kirby.