Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tractors Of Yesteryear - A Calendar

Click on photo to enlarge
During our recent trip to Utah, my family and I were out one day exploring the farm country of the Bear River Valley where my mom now lives.
We came across the 400 acre farm of a disarmingly accommodating couple, Garth and Veda, who had a fantastic collection of old tractors. I had a blast photographing the dead machinery and told Garth I wanted to make a calendar from the pictures so I could send him one.
Once I started working with the images, I liked them so much that I decided to carry the project a bit further, and actually get the calendar published, so here 'tis.
These are infernal combustion machines I can truly appreciate, because they don't run anymore, having now become artful sculptures from the bygone era of cheap and abundant oil.
I've had requests from a few blogfriends to make some of my artwork available for sale, so anyone who wishes to have one of these calendars can purchase them here at for $13.50 plus shipping.
If you are immediate family, or a close friend (and I feel you might enjoy this sort of thing), don't buy one, because you'll probably be getting it in the mail as a Winter Solstice gift.
I hope you don't think I'm turning Earth Home Garden into a commercial venture, because my cost for these is $11.30, so I make $1.76 from each calendar, while the publisher, Lulu, gets 44 cents (the rest is printing costs, although, if you buy quantities, the per-calendar price does go down).
So, I created the calendars for fun, buying 48 as personal gifts, and then, thought I'd make them available to everyone, in case someone else happens to want one. These really do look quite nice in print, 2007 is just around the corner, and calendars are useful items.
Here's my description of the calendar as posted at Lulu.
A farmer's collection of over 100 antique tractors inspired this calendar featuring 12 of his colorful rusting relics. The images of these rugged, and often graceful, old machines are windows into the lives and ingenuity of the people who designed, manufactured, operated, and maintained them. An almost archaeological look into America's very recent past, this calendar differs from most antique machinery calendars in that the tractors are portrayed more as works of art, in their own right, than restoration projects. Much of their beauty results from the forces of time, weather, and the artful hand of nature, like the worn carvings of an ancient temple. The pictures have been slightly altered by the photographer to enrich the color and lend an almost hand-painted effect. Calendar events include standard U.S. holidays as well as solstice, equinox, and full moon dates.
The more I think about it, every calendar sold nearly pays for another bottle of 'Two-Buck Chuck' Cabernet Sauvignon from Trader Joe's. Have at'em folks!
I've only just discovered this self-publishing website and it's pretty cool. All of you writers, poets, photographers, artists, and musicians out there, take note...
At Lulu, you can publish not only calendars, but autobiographies, how-to manuals, childrens books, poetry, photography books, drawings, whatever, in beautiful hardbound or paperback editions of one or thousands. Those with musical talent can also publish CDs there too, and Lulu can even set up distribution, beyond their website, through retailers like and Barnes & Noble.
I'm quite impressed with the printing, paper, and production quality of the tractor calendar. The layout is exactly as I submitted it, the ring binding is neatly done & sturdy, while the colors virtually glow from the pages. And ours is just the standard calendar, they also offer a larger premium version with other paper options.
It took a couple of hours to find my way around the Lulu software and design, revise, & publish the calendar to my liking. With books there are many more options, and maybe a little steeper learning curve, but you can bet that I've got a few ideas fermenting away in this old grey matter of mine.

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Blogger Paul said...

Jim, way to go! I like the 12 photos.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Now I know what to get The Hermit for Christmas!

We have a 1940 Farmall H that still runs beautifully.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Madcap said...

I've never heard of this publishing possibility before, and now my head's racing - Poppy's writing a book she wants to publish! We'll definitely have to look into it for her.

And I know just the one who'd like a tractor calendar.

But Jim...

But Jim....

only US holidays?

6:20 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

What a great idea! The photos are beautiful. I think my mother (who grew up on a homestead up north) would love them - she's done similar shots of rusty old trucks.

11:55 AM  
Blogger LenĂ© Gary said...

That's so cool, Jim. Thanks for sharing the Lulu information too. Maybe I'll make a Vermont calendar for some of my family and friends.

There's a tractor museum in Boerne, Texas that may be interested in carrying your calendar, if you want to get it out into the world. I think the city runs it--I can't remember for sure.

Hope you all have a great holiday week!

6:08 AM  
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3:35 AM  

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